For toast and marmalade in the afternoon.

The pain of loss so great that only distraction measure it’s significance. Unbearable to forget, unbearable to remember, a sort of planned denial is the only survival. I miss her so, and still cannot understand her death. I cannot introduce her to my boy, who she would have loved as if the world. It is surreal that I can must and just cannot bear to write this, with stupid angry tears caught in my chest and pain in my eyes. Five years ago today.

Talk: Machiko Nakanishi 11 May 2011 4pm

CCS invites you to a talk by:

Machiko Nakanishi

The Transformation of Reflexivity  

Venue: Goldsmiths, LG G3,  4pm, 11th May 2011 (Chair: Scott Lash)

The purpose of this seminar is to discuss the transformation of reflexivity, to compare the difference of reflexivity between the UK and Japan, and to study the relation of the market and reflexive modernization for the future.

1   Change of Reflexivity according to Social change

At first, I discuss the transformation of reflexivity. Reflexivity means the concept of reflecting oneself to others, and determining oneself by the reflection of others. The character of reflexivity changes according to social change. It changes from cognitive reflexivity (self-reflexivity and structural reflexivity as suggested by Giddens and Beck) affected by rational modernization to aesthetic and hermeneutic reflexivity( as suggested by Lash)   affected by modernization of aesthetics. It again changes to phenomenological reflexivity in the information society.The concept of reflexivity is changing and extending.

2   Difference of reflexivity between the UK and Japan

Secondly I will compare reflexivity and reflexive modernization between the UK and Japan.  Influences of reflexive modernization flow from Western modernization, but affect the world as a whole-and they refract back to start to reshape modernization at its point of origin. In Western society including the UK, the ‘I’ is most important. While in Japan, the ‘ we ’ is more important than the ‘I’. In the traditional Western society, reflexivity remains limited, while in the traditional Japanese society, collective, hermeneutic and phenomenological reflexivities   work very well together. A different reflexive modernization can be possible in Japan.

3   Market & Reflexivity

In the reflexive society, where phenomenological reflexivity works, our senses have changed, reflecting market change. I express it as ‘ market-sense reflexivity’. It is sense, emotion and society which are exchanged through the framework of the market. In addition, new reflexivities can be born and transform themselves according to the transformation of market.

Visiting fellow of CCS
Associate Professor of Sociology and Marketing
Faculty of Management ,
Chukyo University, Nagoya, Japan

  All Welcome.

Gaza protest: Saturday 14 May 2011

Join the protest: Saturday 14 May

12 noon opposite Downing Street

Called by: Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, British Muslim Initiative, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Palestinian Forum in Britain

End the siege on Gaza Supported by: Amos Trust, Association of the Palestinian Community in the UK, Communications Workers Union (CWU), Fire Brigades Union (FBU), Friends of Lebanon, Friends of Al-Aqsa, GMB, The Green Party, ICAHD UK, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Lib Dem Friends of Palestine, Pax Christi, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), The Russell Tribunal on Palestine, Twinning with Palestine, UNISON, UNITE the Union, University & College Union (UCU), War on Want, Zaytoun
Support the Freedom Flotilla: Follow‘Britain 2 Gaza’ on Facebook or@britain2gaza on Twitter Britain to Gaza logo
To sign the petition to end the siege click here.
Join the PSC logo
‘Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians’
— Nelson Mandela
PSC is campaigning to end the siege on Gaza, is demanding that the right of Palestinian self-determination is respected, and that Palestinians finally achieve freedom, peace and justice. Together, we can change the future. Join the PSC today!

File Notes on Christian Marazzi’s ‘The Violence of Financial Capitalism’

On Marazzi, after reading his little Semiotext(e) booklet: The Violence of Financial Capitalism, where, among many interesting assertions, he says:

“The thesis that is being put forth here is that financialization is not an unproductive/parasitic deviation of growing quotas of surplus-value and collective saving, but rather the form of capital accumulation symmetrical with new processes of value production” (Marazzi 2011:48)

Here he has in mind the extraction of value in the sphere of circulation, in reproduction and distribution – ‘a phenomenon, let it be noted, well known to women for a long time’ (p48-9) – but also including crowd-sourcing and facebook, flickr, google etc., as ways to ‘harness and valourize user browsing’ and ‘extract surplus value from common actions like linking to a site, flagging a blog post, modifying software, and so forth’ (Marazzi following Terranova and O’Reilly, in Marazzi 2011:51-2)

“The first important consequence of the new proceses of capitalist valourization is the following: the quantity of surplus-value created by new apparatuses of extraction is enormous. It is based on the compression of direct and indirect wages (retirement, social security cushions, earnings from individual and collective savings), on the reduction of socially necessary labour with flexible network company systems (precarization, intermittent employment), and on the creation of a vaster pool of free labour (the “free labour” in the spere of consumption, circulation and reproduction, with a more intensified cognitive labour). The quantity of surplus-value, i.e., of unpaid labour, is at the root of the increase in the profits not reinvested in the production sphere, profits whose increase does not, as a consequence, generate the growth of stable employment, let alone wage increases” (Marazzi 2011:52-3)

It should come as no surprise that Marxists are also concerned with consumption, and this is of course necessary for the valourization of appropriated surplus value, but what then of the relative importance, in post-post-Fordist financialized globality, of the distinction Marx makes between division 1 and division 2 – consumption by the workers for reproduction of their labour power (food, clothing, education, sex) and consumption in the labour process (of materials, energy, machines, ideas [can ideas be consumed?])?
Isn’t financialization and circulation underscored still by the universal equivalent, a mode of calculation and measurement of unlike things through the like code of money, however abstracted in credit? For example, would the crisis of sub-prime mortgages suggest that it is not new tools of valourization of surplus-value so much as that the credit card economy which now supports valourization in division 1 in the developed world may turn out to also be as fragile as the banking credit system that supported division 2 before and through, to an extent that remains to be tested, the recent crisis?
What attention to this distinction between division 1 and 2 might question is whether the harnessing of social labour, free labour, crowd sourcing, open source, is really that different than the fluctuations of demand harnessed through shopping? Is it that this contribution is now just better tracked within a digital economy of scale, just as just-in-time production in the Toyota model was a stagnation inducing set up for manufacturing? If the crisis is that this tracking and contribution does not valourize capital for reinvestment in production, but rather only in development of new enclosures (web 2.0, Facebook platforms, google as enclosures and nations without allegiance – the pirate metaphor so beloved of netizens), is it indicative of where to fight that this enclosure has further abandoned any obligations or constraints to provide for education, health, cultural or social cohesion of its constituency beyond registration or i.P address? That is, the struggle is not with sociality 2.0, but rather the vapourization of social ties at the very moment of their fetish characterization via ‘friending’ on facebook, the you in you tube, and the vacuous instamatic photo-realist representations of flickr?
and these questions after the Marazzi talk at Queen Mary and discussion with The Paper crew:
When you speak of ‘the main functions of fixed capital, of the machine’ as having been ‘transposed into the body of labour power’ what does this mean for the place of Marx’s notion of the collective labour and the forms of the reserve army of labour (floating, latent, stagnant) as well as the reproduction of skilled labour, which Marx notes, is carefully protected be capital even in times of crisis? Do these categories still have any purchase in the context of financialization? Are they distributed differently, but still operative – eg collective labourer includes many ancillary non-productive labour functions.
Would consideration of the categories of Reserve army of labour as applicable to the global economy viewed from India or China not dwarf the relevance of free labour through internships or open source?
When you talk of bankruptcy as a strategy, do you mean to reclaim a kind of negative commons – along with this would disasters and the dysfunctions of climate, be also commons? What are the implications of this for nature?/our nature?
What are the forms of organization and kinds of struggle that would be adequate to win against this financialization, this measurement in crisis and crisis of measurement? Isn’t the commons too big a grab bag to even pint out that it cannot be named even as we codify and constitute it though naming.

Anthropologies of Tourism

Issue 2

Anthropologies of Tourism
April 2011
Tourists at Cobá, Quintana Roo, Mexico 2008 – Photo by Ryan Anderson

Global Day of Action on Military Spending

Memorandum to the Malaysian Defence Minister

By Malaysian NGOs on the Global Day of Action on Military Spending,

April 12, 2011

In 2009 alone, global military spending rose to an all-time high amount of $1.53 TRILLION! Because we encounter countless crises in today’s world -poverty, hunger, lack of education, poor health care, and environmental issues – it is essential that we come together and create a global movement focusing on what IS important: human lives and their needs. It really is up to us… if not, then who? But we must act NOW!

Global Day of Action on Military Spending on April 12, 2011 has been organized to coincide with the release of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) new annual figures on world military expenditures. On this day, people on all continents will join together in joint actions to focus public, political, and media attention on the costs of military spending and the need for new priorities. Such events will help us to build the international network around this issue.

Join us in this historic Global Day of Action on Military Spending. This day of action has been coordinated by:

The International Peace Bureau (IPB), dedicated to the vision of a World without War. IPB are a Nobel Peace Laureate (1910); over the years, 13 of its officers have been recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize. They have 320 member organisations in 70 countries, together with individual members from a global network, bring together expertise and campaigning experience in a common cause. Their current main programme centres on Sustainable Disarmament for Sustainable Development.

The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. They work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power. As Washington’s first progressive multi-issue think tank, the IPS has served as a policy and research resource for visionary social justice movements for over four decades.

Statement by Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending, 12 April 2011

Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending are concerned about the carte blanche given to the Ministry of Defence for arms purchases while health, education and other social services are still so deplorable. The total security allocation under the Tenth Malaysia Plan is RM23 billion. Through the years, the allocation for security (internal security + defence) has been as high as 15.9% and 15.0% under the 3rd and 6th Malaysia Plans while the allocation for health has been as low as 1.6% and 1.0% under the 4th and 5th Malaysia Plans respectively. The Education Minister said recently that 600 schools in the country are in critical condition, most of these in East Malaysia.

The arms race among the Southeast Asian countries seems the most pointless after all the talk at conferences on ASEAN integration. Even so, each country’s attempt to be ahead in the race is self-defeating.

In 1997, Malaysia was described as one of “East Asia’s Big Eight” countries devoting “lavish resources” to develop its military industries. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists said that these countries – China, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia – were enhancing their capabilities in military organization, arms purchases, and military industrialization.

Malaysia’s rivalry with Singapore springs not from ideological differences but from the latter’s forced separation from the Malaysian federation in 1965, after a crisis emanating from the racial politics of their ruling classes. From this rivalry we can see how the ensuing arms race has burdened the peoples in the two countries with billions in arms spending.

Many are not aware of the rapid growth of Malaysia’s domestic military-industrial complex. The top brass of the military guard their power and privilege and this is nourished by easy access to the defence budget and the simple justification of “national security”. Today we have seen the growth of such a complex in many countries, including Malaysia. An offshoot of the arms purchases is the race to develop domestic defence equipment industries in each of the S.E. Asian countries.

It is clear that the BN Government could get away with such huge defence budgets during the last few decades because of the erosion of these safeguards in our democratic system, viz. dominance of the executive over parliament; loss of public accountability; absence of Freedom of Information legislation; inadequate separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary; poor safeguards for civil rights. The National Defence Policy is as good as giving a carte blanche to the Ministry of Defence for “deterrence and forward defence”.

The Non-Aligned Movement was founded upon the principles of peace, neutrality and impartiality to the Superpowers. A genuine non-aligned policy can therefore go a long way toward ridding us of the need to procure expensive arms.

Disarmament must ultimately be inclusive of all the nations within ASEAN. The peoples in ASEAN deserve a better quality of life compared to the status quo which is committed to an irrational arms race among the ASEAN countries themselves and deprives their peoples of valuable resources for social development.

Minimising the defence budget in Malaysia and throughout ASEAN can free more valuable resources into urgently needed social services and socially useful production. Wasting money on arms prevents it from being spent on health, education, clean water or other public services. It also distorts the economy and diverts resources, such as skilled labour and R&D away from alternative economic activity.

Leaders have the responsibility to initiate that fundamental change and involving everyone in that peace-building process. It involves overcoming the fears, prejudices and other contradictions that give rise to misunderstanding, violence and conflict. It involves re-ordering our financial priorities away from wasteful and destructive arms to the social well-being of all our peoples.

Facilitating greater democracy in our society also creates a culture of peace since the more that citizens have the opportunity to participate in the running of their society and the freedom to express their aspirations and criticisms, the less likely are they to take up arms to overthrow the government.

To achieve a culture of peace would require a profound reformation but reform we must. Cooperating in shared goals and nurturing positive interdependence can help to build this culture of peace. A culture of peace should be our nation’s vision. It is a vision that is only attainable in a society that respects human dignity, social justice, democracy and human rights. It is an environment that can settle conflict and differences through dialogue and democracy and not through threats and repression.

Social change will only happen when the people are mobilised in a movement for peace. Only such a movement and consciousness can divert the billions spent on unnecessary and wasteful armaments to peaceful and socially useful production.  Malaysian NGOs on Military Spending have a responsibility for initiating this movement.

Press Repress

A senior United Nations representative on torture, Juan Mendez, issued a rare reprimand to the US government on Monday for failing to allow him to meet in private Bradley Manning, the American soldier held in a military prison accused of being the WikiLeaks source. It is the kind of censure that the UN normally reserves for authoritarian regimes around the world. Guardian 11.4.2011

About time we heard something on this, as the UN continues to follow its usual daft tandem policy of total war and humanitarian bleating, and on the day that the BBC is reminding us that David-Desert Rat-Cameron took a degree at Oxford and, oh, now he wants to come across all mr-man-with-an-issue in a caring social mobility tone. Crikey, Mr numbnuts, you imagine yourself as some sort of advocate (patronizing git) and the dark lord of cuts. Plus it turns out you can’t even count, and so any chance the ‘story’ you told us could do nothing more than make you seem foolish is confirmed. What I want to propose is a direct exchange, a prisoner swap so to speak. Dave C, as a more than prominent figure, you get a ticker tape parade to welcome you to New York, but then you have to take Bradley Manning’s place in the stalag and serve out your time in solitary. You deserve it, lizard loser.


postscript 4am: I was nearly asleep when I wrote the above stub, hence the lack of reference which I should document, but also the strange lizard references and general rantiness, which I should remove but will leave as symtom of exhaustion. Hmmm, still nearly asleep – please forgive my improper grammar. For the record, Cameron was on the news having been to Oxford to butter up to those who gave him his degree, but along the way he made the stunning observation that Oxford is a bastion of white supremacy. Well, that’s not the phrase <em>he</em> used, but he has direct personal experience of it. Trouble is he got the numbers wrong with a mad exaggeration and error born of some probable trauma in his elite hi-jinx Bilgewater Club life with Boris. As media-worthy event it becomes another instance of a stir-up-trouble foot-in-mouth-as-policy strategy on the part of Government. They can’t be this clever eh, an attack on the poshest University means the rest of the University sector has to defend Oxford, and the consequent radicalization of Oxbridge students draws the wrong type of well-dressed radical into the student campaign (if this is the thinking, good grief – but all radicals will be welcomed, just some will need re-education camp). Along the way Cameron’s number fiasco undermines legitimate analysis of racism by making it sound like some twisted version of grade inflation. Doesn’t matter if its just 1 or 27, the evidence is plain to see – disproportionate enrollment is white supremacy no matter how you look at it. And its hypocrisy, because other organizations are demonized, funding withdrawn, and closed down for far less serious versions of being ‘not fit for purpose’.

The prisoner swap thing – we give you Cameron, you give us Manning – well, of course we need to be in a strong position to do a deal like that, which we are not, yet. And if the UN needs to sometimes be seen to criticize the US, well and good – though note how rare that is. It is no surprise that different parts of the colonial machine can be dysfunctional and snipe at each other, and yet both parts are still deadly. Stop bombing Libya and free Bradley Manning!