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A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse

A Practical Utopian’s Guide to the Coming Collapse
David Graeber [from The Baffler No. 22, 2013] What is a revolution? We used to think we knew. Revolutions were seizures of power by popular forces aiming to transform the very nature of the political, social, and economic system in the country in which the revolution took place, usually according to some visionary dream of a just society. Nowadays, we live in an age when, if rebel armies do come sweeping into a city, or mass uprisings overthrow a dictator, it’s unlikely to have any such implications; when profound social transformation does occur—as with, say, the rise of feminism—it’s likely to take an entirely different form. At moments like this, it generally pays to go back to the history one already knows and ask: Were revolutions ever really what we thought them to be? Already by the time of the French Revolution, Wallerstein notes, there was a single world market, and increasingly a single world political system as well, dominated by the huge colonial empires. Future Stop

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Two notions of liberty revisited - or how to disentangle Liberty and Slavery Our idea of human freedom, with its origins in Roman law, is permeated through and through with the institution of slavery. But its links to slavery twisted the meaning of "freedom" from an empowering notion of what it is to live with dignity in a society of equals to one of mastery and control. Understanding the history of the concept should help us to regain the first and fight the second of those notions. These Americans Are Fighting for an Actual, Legitimate Democracy, By and For the People Photo Credit: durantelallera/ April 18, 2014 | Like this article? Join our email list:

Study: Men's Biceps Predict Their Political Ideologies - Lindsay Abrams Positions on economic redistribution correlated with upper-body strength. Valentin Flauraud/Reuters PROBLEM: The pre-societal, animal model of conflict resolution is simple, brutal, and effective. Leaving aside political gambles, moral considerations, and the like, the strong are more willing to fight for their self-interest, while the weak find it more advantageous not to assert themselves. U.S. Responses to Self-Determination Movements: Strategies for Nonviolent Outcomes and Alternatives to Secession Report from a Roundtable Held in Conjunction with the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. Department of State The right to self-determination is proclaimed by numerous international documents, including the United Nations Charter and the Helsinki Final Act. However, this right has never been precisely defined and has thus come to denote different things to different peoples and governments at different times. To examine the complex self-determination issue, the United States Institute of Peace, together with the Policy Planning Staff of the Department of State, organized a series of meetings to help U.S. policymakers develop a response to self-determination demands. Experts on international law and state sovereignty discussed the right to self-determination—its origins, what it entails, and the nature of international legal language sanctioning and defining it.

Political Motivations May Have Evolutionary Links to Physical Strength Men’s upper-body strength predicts their political opinions on economic redistribution, according to new research published in Psychological Science , a journal of the Association for Psychological Science . The principal investigators of the research — psychological scientists Michael Bang Petersen of Aarhus University, Denmark and Daniel Sznycer of University of California, Santa Barbara — believe that the link may reflect psychological traits that evolved in response to our early ancestral environments and continue to influence behavior today. “While many think of politics as a modern phenomenon, it has — in a sense — always been with our species,” says Petersen. In the days of our early ancestors, decisions about the distribution of resources weren’t made in courthouses or legislative offices, but through shows of strength. Men with low upper-body strength, on the other hand, were less likely to support their own self-interest.

Push for constitutional convention gathers steam Rising frustration with Washington and conservative electoral victories across much of the U.S. are feeding a movement in favor of something America hasn't done in 227 years: Hold a convention to rewrite the Constitution. Although it's still not likely to be successful, the effort is more serious than before: Already, more than two dozen states have called for a convention. There are two ways to change or amend the founding document. The usual method is for an adjustment to win approval from two-thirds of the Congress and then be ratified by three-quarters of the states. There have been 27 amendments adopted this way. The second procedure is separate from Congress.

Red brain, blue brain: Republicans and Democrats process risk differently, research finds A team of political scientists and neuroscientists has shown that liberals and conservatives use different parts of the brain when they make risky decisions, and these regions can be used to predict which political party a person prefers. The new study suggests that while genetics or parental influence may play a significant role, being a Republican or Democrat changes how the brain functions. Dr. Darren Schreiber, a researcher in neuropolitics at the University of Exeter, has been working in collaboration with colleagues at the University of California, San Diego on research that explores the differences in the way the brain functions in American liberals and conservatives. The findings are published Feb. 13 in the journal PLOS ONE. In a prior experiment, participants had their brain activity measured as they played a simple gambling game.

Constitutional Convention movement growing in states A growing group of state lawmakers from across the country are exploring ways to limit the power of the federal government by using a seldom-referenced clause of the U.S. Constitution. Last week, the President Pro Tempore of the Indiana State Senate David Long (R-Fort Wayne) joined an effort to explore convening a Constitutional convention pursuant to Article V of the Constitution. Long joins legislators from Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma and Wisconsin who have all signed a letter calling for every state to send a three-person bipartisan delegation to George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Virginia on December 7th. The purpose of the Mount Vernon Assembly is to plan an Article V Constitutional Convention.

New study of political defections identifies 'personality type' prone to switch sides Printer friendly version Share 21 September 2012 Leicester, University of A new study on political defections from the University of Leicester has identified an ‘archetype’ for someone who is likely to break political ranks. The research, published in the week following Lord Stevens’ defection to UKIP, charts a history of defections over a century. Dr.

Our Invisible Revolution (Image: Raised fists via Shutterstock)“Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world?” the anarchist Alexander Berkman wrote in his essay “The Idea Is the Thing.” “If you did, then your answer must have been that it is because the people support those institutions, and that they support them because they believe in them.” Truthout depends on you to continue producing grassroots journalism and disseminating conscientious visions for a brighter future. Contribute now by clicking here! Berkman was right. For Wikipedia users, being 'Wikipedian' may be more important than political loyalties Apr. 3, 2013 — Wikipedia users who proclaim their political affiliations within the online community consider their identity as "Wikipedian" stronger than potentially divisive political affiliations, according to research published April 3 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by David Laniado and colleagues from Barcelona Media, Spain, and University of Southern California. Previous studies of blog networks have revealed that liberal and conservative blogs tend to link to others with similar political slants rather than to one another, described by researchers as "divided they blog". In the current study, researchers analyzed how Wikipedia users displayed political affiliations and interacted with others who stated different affiliations. Unlike previous analyses of other social media, the authors found no trends indicating a preference to interact with others of the same political party within the Wikipedia community.