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Archive for October 24th, 2011

Beyond Human Rights:  Defending Freedoms

Beyond Human Rights is the second in an ongoing series of English translations of Alain de Benoist’s works to be published by Arktos.

Alain de Benoist begins Beyond Human Rights with an examination of the origins of the concept of ‘human rights’ in European Antiquity, in which rights were defined in terms of the individual’s relationship to his community, and were understood as being exclusive to that community alone. This changed with the coming of Christianity to Europe, after which rights were redefined as a universal concept derived from the idea of each individual as the possessor of a soul that is transcendent and independent of any social identity. This culminated in the Enlightenment belief in ‘natural rights’, which found its practical expression in the doctrines emerging from the American and French revolutions, in which all individuals were said to possess rights simply by virtue of the fact of their being human. In turn, laws issued by the State came to be viewed as negative impositions upon the naturally independent individual.

De Benoist deconstructs this idea and shows how the myth of a ‘natural man’ who possesses rights independent of his community is indefensible, and how this conception of rights has, in modern times, led to their use as a weapon by stronger nations to bludgeon those weaker states which do not conform to the Western liberal-democratic form of rights, as we have recently seen in action in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya.

As such, he presents us with a crucial critique of one of the major issues of our time.

Available from Arktos in softcover and hardcover.

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US Military + Gangs

 

 

from Global Guerillas

As of 2011, there were 1.4 m people in US gangs.  That’s 40% higher than 2009.  Why the rapid growth?  Lots of little factors, but the big driver: 17% unemployment (with treble that in areas where gangs are prevalent) and the decaying legitimacy of current power structures.  With the ongoing deterioration of the US system, young people are going to increasingly opt to give their primary loyalty to any organization (i.e. gang) that will take care of them.  

NOTE:  a primary loyalty is any loyalty that takes precedence over patriotic loyalty. It can be family, church/religion, gang, tribe, money, etc.  
Something more interesting than simple gang growth/spread, is the increasing presence of gang members in the military (primarily the Army) and the transfer of combat skills gained in Iraq/Afghanistan to the street.  The FBI report states that 100 police jurisdictions have reported coming into contact with gang members with recent military experience. This training, gained on the battlegrounds of Iraq and Afghanistan, is extremely good (and for some people, extremely addicting).  As we have seen in the recent past, even a single man with combat experience and some weaponry can be a HUGE problem for local police.

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As the European debt crisis spills over from Greece to Italy, so do the flames of indignation spread from Athens to Rome. On Saturday, the Italian capital was the theater to a spectacular 200,000-strong peaceful anti-austerity march. But a small minority of dedicated militants turned their sights on the authorities. Violent clashes broke out that led to at least 100 injuries and countless torched police vans and cars, broken shop windows and unearthed cobble stones.

Makeshift bombs were detonated, missiles and Molotov cocktails fired at police, a church was ransacked, and the Ministry of Defense set ablaze. The extreme bout of violence was the worst in Italy since the notorious 2001 Genova riots (notorious mostly for the police response, leading to the death of Carlo Giuliani). La Repubblica this morning dedicated its first 13 pages to the protest and riots, in a sign of the extent to which these events have shaken the country.

As the tear gas and petrol bombs fly from one ancient city to the next, the social sustainability of our present political economic arrangement is once again being thrown into question. The outbreak of violence in Rome — like in London and Athens before — is a symptom of a much deeper disease: the crisis of global financial capitalism and the profound legitimation crisis of our national representative democracies.

In December 2010 we made a gloomy prediction for the new year: “The rage is spreading, and the legitimation crisis of global capitalism is only going to deepen in 2011 as austerity measures aggravate inequality, insecurity and unemployment. The question is not so much if there will be renewed violence, but where and when it will take place.” Athens. London. Rome. Who’s next?

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Fighting Corporate Greed

 

Hundreds of protesters camped out in London, Frankfurt and Amsterdam on Sunday, holding a second day of action against corporate greed and budget cuts in Europe’s financial centres.

Rallies swept cities in 80 countries around the globe on Saturday, inspired by the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and the “Indignants” campaign launched six months ago in Spain. In London, several hundred anti-capitalist demonstrators camped in front of St Paul’s Cathedral in London’s financial district. district, setting up about 70 tents in a movement mirroring the Manhattan protest launched last month.

“We will stay as long as we need to,” said graphic designer Justin, 27, who declined to give his surname, adding that he was protesting due to “disillusion with our current economic system”. In Amsterdam, around 300 people were camped out in the square in front of the stock exchange Sunday, one of the organisers, Seth Lievense, told AFP.

“At the moment, there are people who are very motivated to stay for a long time in the square,” he said. “Days, nights, weeks ñ their desire for change is enormous.” In Frankfurt, around 200 people were camped in front of the European Central Bank, which has been in the eye of the storm over the euro, under threat by Europe’s ongoing debt crisis.

There were also clashes in New York where the “Occupy Wall Street” movement has gained pace and police made 92 arrests there. Earlier Sunday, Chicago police detained 175 people as they cleared a protest camp in the city’s Grant Park.

On Saturday, tens of thousands turned out at the biggest rallies in Lisbon, Madrid and Rome. In Lisbon alone, 50,000 people turned up to protest capitalist greed.

The protests were mostly peaceful but in Rome a few hundred among tens of thousands of protesters set cars alight, smashed up banks and hurled rocks at riot police, who responded by firing tear gas and water cannon jets. Rome’s mayor Gianni Alemanno said the damage to public property from the riots the day before cane to a million euros ($1.4 million).

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