Archive for August 26th, 2012

“If the salvation of society depends, in the long run, on the moral and spiritual health of individuals, the subject of contemplation becomes a vastly important one, since contemplation is one of the indications of spiritual maturity. It is closely allied to sanctity. You cannot save the world merely with a system. You cannot have peace without charity. You cannot have social order without saints, mystics, and prophets.”

–Thomas Merton


Read Full Post »

Ultra-conservative Islamists used bombs and a bulldozer to destroy the tomb of a 15th century Sufi scholar in the Libyan city of Zlitan, witnesses said on Saturday, the latest attack in the region on sites branded idolatrous by some sects.

The attackers reduced the revered last resting place of Abdel Salam al-Asmar to rubble on Friday and also set fire to a historic library in a nearby mosque, ruining thousands of books, witnesses and a military official added.

A Reuters journalist in Zlitan, about 90 miles west of the Libyan capital, said the mosque’s dome had collapsed and a minaret was pockmarked with holes.

The attackers appeared to have removed the last signs of the shrine with a bulldozer, which was abandoned nearby.

Libyan authorities have struggled to control a myriad of armed factions that have refused to give up their weapons following the revolution that ousted Muammar Gaddafi last year.

The latest destruction followed two days of clashes between tribal group in Zlitan which killed two people and injured 18, according to military council counts.

“The extremist Salafis took advantage (of the fact) that security officials were busy calming down the clashes and they desecrated the shrine,” Zlitan military council official Omar Ali told Reuters, referring to conservative Muslims who see many Sufi sites as idolatrous.

Hardliners, emboldened and armed by the Arab Spring revolts, have targeted a number of sites sacred to Islam’s mystical Sufi tradition in Libya, Egypt and Mali over the past year.

The assaults recalled the 2001 dynamiting by the Taliban of two 6th-century statues of Buddha carved into a cliff in Bamiyan in central Afghanistan.


Read Full Post »

This brief lecture is an introduction to the Fourth Political Theory, which comes to replace three classic ideologies from the Modern era, i.e. liberalism, communism, and fascism. Philosopher Aleksandr Dugin reviews the history of these ideologies and their decline, outlines the challenges of living in globalist Postmodernity, and proposes the establishment of a new political theory, ranging from the need for multipolarity and the dialogue of civilizations to Heideggerian Dasein as the new historical subject.

Order Professor Dugin’s new book (his first translated in English) Fourth Political Theory here at our Green Star / Open Revolt  store and show some much needed support for our work!

Read Full Post »


By Lucía Berbeo

In order to understand Venezuela´s political panorama, for example the presidential elections this coming October 7 and the recent declarations of Colombian ex-president, Alvaro Uribe, against the country, we interviewed the editor of Chaos in Spain´s Network, Catalan sociologist and graduate in Latin American studies, Anibal Garzon Baeza, who gave us an extensive analysis of the different events taking place in the South American nation.

LB: Recently the ex-president of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, stated that during his administration he was on the verge of carrying out a military intervention in Venezuelan territory, but due to lack of time, he never followed through. What is your opinion regarding this declaration?

We have to analyse the political impact which Uribe was looking to make with his demagogic statements. Any analyst knows that Uribe has never had the opportunity to carry out a military intervention in Venezuela for numerous reasons. The first is that, if he had attacked the country, many of Colombia´s troops would have been deployed in a bi-national conflict, which would have given free space to the FARC and ELN guerrillas, who had to concede territories that they had previously controlled in 1999 through Plan Colombia, supported by the US and Europe.

With the bi-national conflict, the guerrillas would have gained political ground as well as territory from Colombian state forces. A second factor is that the conflict would have gone beyond the Colombia-Venezuela border and become a continental issue. Venezuela is a country that, under Chavez, has strengthened relations with other Latin American countries through strong South-South cooperation, for instance, through Petrocaribe or the ALBA-TCP. Venezuela has also managed to overcome the historical control of the Organization of American States through founding new organizations such as CELAC or UNASUR, as well as having recently joined MERCOSUR. For this reason, an attempt by Colombia to invade Venezuela would be met by support from other Latin American countries for Chavez, not because they hold political sympathies, but because they would oppose an attack against continental integration. In this sense, the demagogic strategy of Uribe is an attempt to attract attention from ultra-conservative and anti-socialist sectors in Colombia which are critical of the new stable relationship between the current President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, and Hugo Chavez.

LB – It is no secret that the ex-president of Colombia is advising the Venezuelan right-wing presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles. How do you see that relationship? Will it work well for them?

Let´s remember that the very same Capriles began his campaign with a rhetoric that focused on implementing capitalism with a social conscious, as in the Brazilian model. These false statements are an indication of the contextual realities of the region. Right now in Latin America an anti-neoliberal ideology is dominant – even the bourgeoisie themsleves have to use this ideology in order to win votes, even though it is not their preferred model. But demagogy has its limit and Capriles´ relationship with Uribe is a demonstration, not just of a link between these two people, but of a whole rightwing international neoliberal structure which includes other politicians such as Aznar and Bush, who in 2011 met with the Venezuelan businessman Gustavo Cisneros, who supports Capriles´ election campaign, in the Dominican Republic in order to plan what action they would take to prevent the reelection of Chavez.

To answer the question, it´s obvious that the Venezuelan people look negatively upon the relationship between Capriles and Uribe, I think that it has been a huge error for Capriles to ally himself with the fascist Uribe, who is a political figure that has been quite rightly discredited across the continent, where he is known for his aggressive militaristic strategies, exemplified through his relationships with paramilitaries, the “false positive” scandal, or his killing sprees against the civilian population, such as in the mass grave found in La Macarena.

LB – In your opinion, what differentiates the ex-governor of Miranda (Capriles) from the current president, Hugo Chavez?

Quite simply, they are different in terms of social classes, what Karl Marx has termed the actors of the “motor of history”. Whilst Chavez has sought to improve the conditions of the oppressed social classes throughout his 13 years of administration, through providing services such as health, education and housing to those with low incomes, Capriles is attempting to paralyse this process through privatising all these services, reducing the role of the state in the economy so that Venezuela returns to the market as the supposed regulator for society, a market which leaves a large part of the population completely marginalized due to their lack of capital. This is nothing new; history repeats itself through the dialectic between the left and the right, when each sector defines itself through the interests of a social class.

LB – This coming October 7, the presidential elections will be held in Venezuela. Do you think the conditions are right for Hugo Chavez to be ratified as president?

According to the majority of the different electoral opinion polls, Chavez would obtain more than 50% of the votes and Capriles wouldn´t even reach 30%. These figures point towards the victory of Chavez, but beyond these secondary sources, the question should actually be; what would happen if Chavez didn´t win the presidential elections? Could this give way to an armed conflict in Venezuela? Let´s bear in mind that the anti-democratic right-wing attempted to get rid of Chavez through a coup in 2002, but the civilian population, with 3 years of Chavez in government, took to the streets to defend him and put a stop to the putschists´ attempts. Ten years after this coup in Venezuela, and strong grassroots political structures have been established, such as the communal councils, which are social sectors which manage part of the resources delegated by the Bolivarian Revolution. These actors would surely be repressed if the right-wing came to power, and this could generate an intense national conflict which would have a huge impact on a continental level.

LB – In spite of the different campaigns and situations that the Venezuelan president has had to face, such as the state coup and the managerial oil strike, amongst others, from your point of view what has maintained Chavez in power and allowed him to consolidate the revolution to become a reference point, not just within Venezuela, but internationally?

On a national level, the principal factor has been in reconstructing a new state which has incorporated tens of thousands of families who had been traditionally excluded by the system. Let´s remember that the coup was brought down by the popular classes, not by the middle class which is now Chavista due to a peak in the national economy, but which tomorrow could side with the opposition. The managerial petrol strike was the same; the revolution was defended by youths who had no labour experience in the industry, and not by the labour aristocracy which generated the strike. Material improvements have been the main reason that the Venezuelan people have defended the revolution. Whilst on an international level, perhaps the main reason has been more symbolic, Chavez as a new political leader has revitalised the global left´s discourse after the crisis represented by the fall of the USSR.

LB – Anibal, as a European and a person who has travelled to numerous countries and has been able to get to know the reality of various peoples, why should we bet on socialism and not capitalism?

Leaving my own political criteria to one side and using a scientific sociological basis, we can see that the implementation of a socialist model means that any citizenry is going to live in much more equal conditions where people, no matter what family they are born into, have the right to study, public healthcare, a decent job, in order to develop themselves as collective individuals.

For example, Cuba, since the socialist revolution in 1959 and in spite of the difficult conditions occasioned by the US embargo, is the only country in Latin America which has eliminated child malnutrition, according to the 2012 UNICEF report. We could talk about what are referred to as the regional capitalist powerhouses, such as Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, in terms of their GDP (Gross Domestic Product), but if a child dies due to lack of food or public services, or if some people can study and others can´t, then from my point of view they aren´t powerhouses, but rather archaic systems leftover from colonialism which we must move beyond.

LB – To round off, what would you say to the leader of the Bolivarian revolution, Hugo Chavez?

If the commander-president Hugo Chavez were to read this interview in any given moment, I would like to thank him for the learning process which he has led and which he has extended to the Venezuelan people since he came to power democratically in 1999. His initial Keynesian comments relating to the supposed third way, a capitalist model which has its theoretical origins in England, were overcome by his inclination for a Latin American socialist model which he began to become aware of through his wide theoretical readings on the achievements made and the errors which are necessary to correct in the history of socialist revolutions. Chavez is not just a political leader, but also an intellectual of the oppressed in the 21st Century, and I think he is conscious of the national and international class struggle that takes up the political agenda.

Translated by Rachael Boothroyd for Venezuelanalysis.com

Read Full Post »

Will Demonoid Return?

Today it’s been one month since Demonoid was driven offline by a massive DDoS attack. In the weeks that followed things went from bad to worse and the site’s Ukrainian hosting provider eventually pulled the plug on the site following a request from Mexican authorities. Despite the legal trouble, many of the site’s former users are refusing to give up hope that Demonoid will live up to its reputation as the comeback kid.

When Demonoid went down at the end of July the site’s admin blamed a DDoS attack. This initial attack resulted in a series of problems that were not easy to fix.

However, at the time the tech admin of the site was determined to get the site back online.

“You know how it goes with Demonoid. It might take a while but it will come back,” the admin told us.

The admin was referring to Demonoid’s reputation as the comeback kid, but a return became less likely during the weeks that followed. After being driven offline by a DDoS and suspected hacker attack, a few days later the news broke that Demonoid’s servers had been shutdown in the Ukraine.

The action followed a request from Interpol, who assisted Mexican authorities in their criminal investigation into the BitTorrent tracker and its operators. With the site offline, Demonoid’s millions of members could no longer access the database of nearly 400,000 torrent files.

Despite the serious legal issues, many of the site’s users haven’t given up hope that Demonoid will rise once again from its digital grave to make a blazing comeback. If it did, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Over the years Demonoid has been blighted with more than its fair share of downtime. In June 2007 the site went offline after it was pressured to leave its host in the Netherlands, mainly because of legal threats from Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN.

The site then relocated to Canada, but after threats from the CRIA it decided to shut down there as well. Early 2008 the site eventually reappeared in full glory after being offline for six months.

In September 2009 the site went offline again due to hardware problems and subsequent data loss. The BitTorrent tracker eventually reappeared two months later around Christmas and continued business as usual.

In the years that followed Demonoid regularly had outages of a day or two, sometimes citing DDoS attacks, but the site always reappeared.

This time the situation is different though, as the Mexican authorities are determined to keep the site offline. It was previously confirmed that a criminal investigation is underway in the country and that a number of arrests and seizures have been carried out.

These events may be the reason why many staffers decided to cut their ties with the site over the past year.

Despite the legal trouble the operator of another major BitTorrent site told TorrentFreak that he’s willing to help the tracker get back on its feet, but the Demonoid team are yet to respond to this request.

At this point it is even unknown whether the Demonoid team had backups in place to make a return possible. The decision from Demonoid’s owner to put the domain names up for sale only added to the uncertainty.

So will Demonoid be able to make a comeback? Even those who are optimistic by nature have to agree that Demonoid’s future is looking grim, but in looking to the future true Demonoid fans will never give up hope.


Read Full Post »