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THE WARWICK GLOBALIST
10 THE (LACK OF) ETHICS IN HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTION
EDITOR IN CHIEF
THE PROBLEM WITH ANONYMITY Patrick Jack
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FROM CONTROLLING GENES TO CONTROLLING MARKETS
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH U.S. Markus Markert
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06 Kashgar: The Endangered Jewel 08 The Problem with Anonymity: Anonymous and the Ethics of Online Vigilante Justice 10 The (Lack Of) Ethics in Humanitarian Intervention 11 Reclaiming Our Public Space: The Dangers of State Intervention 13 How Should We Intervene in the Developing World?
POLITICS AND ECONOMICS
15 Northern Ireland The Forgotten ‘Troubles’ of the United Kingdom 16 The New Face of the Asian Economy 17 Kenya and the ICC: A Trial at Home and Abroad 18 Is This What Victory Looks Like? 19 On the Fence
ARTS AND CULTURE
20 Through the Lens: War Photography in Focus 22 Reflections on Reflecting: Monet’s Nymphéas, Space & the ‘Economy/Ecology of Attention’ 24 All-American Alien
26 May the Force Be With U.S. 28 The Fossil Free Resistance Movement 30 Why the Repression of Golden Dawn is not the Death Toll for Fascism in Greece
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
32 From Controlling Genes, To Controlling Markets: Are We Right To Fear GMO’s? 33 Open Source Society: The Future? 34 Drug Patenting: The Crime of the Century
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FEATURES a $500 million program to remove dangerous housing, including mosques and markets. With half of the Old City already destroyed, the characteristic speed with which the Chinese government implements change (due to a lack of regulations), has resulted in the fast disappearance of the Uyghur way of life. The importation of the Han Chinese ethnic group has furthermore vastly altered the ethnography of the region: having previously made up 77% of the Kashgar population, the Uyghur people are now outnumbered in their own region.
The costs entailed by this modernising project stretch well beyond the scope of the loss of a few crumbling buildings. In spiritual significance, Kashgar compares to the city of Jerusalem,, having had Uyghur Muslims practising there from the tenth century. Destroying ancient architecture thus devastates its Islamic tradition and history. Faceless apartments lacking character are a poor replacement, and access to mosques and communal areas is proving difficult. After the Cultural Revolution, which obliterated centuries of Chinese dynastic history, this policy smacks of the Chinese State’s desire to remove alternative affinities that would threaten their power.
the Endangered Jewel Elizabeth Yarwood explores the unreported destruction of the cultural city of
More worrying, however, is the disturbing infringement of this intervention upon human rights. Forced out of their homes and into these bland apartments without any consultation, the growing marginalisation of the minority Islamic group is exacerbated by the influx of Han Chinese people and the rising conflict between the two groups. Violent clashes have spread from the main city of the Xinjiang province to Kashgar. In April 2013, the authorities accused the Muslim population of “terrorist” attacks that killed 21 people. With harsh punishments for any violence, the Uyghur people are prevented from voicing opinions, whilst the hand of the Chinese government grows ever heavier.
Kashgar by the Chinese authorities in a bid for modernisation.
Reactions from the rest of the world have been embarrassingly non-existent. Following the UNPO Conference ‘The City of Kashgar: An Oasis of the Silk Road on the Brink of Extinction’, the MEP called for the immediate halt of the destruction of Kashgar. “In spite of this, nothing has been done,” says Henryk Szadziewski, a senior researcher at the Human Rights Project. This is due to the EU’s financial difficulties, meaning amicability with the Chinese is in their interests. Thus emerges the problem whereby international interests conflict with the interests of individuals. Since it is the international bodies making the decisions, the EU hypocritically turn a blind eye to the oppressed Uyghur minority whilst continuing to champion cultural diversity. image flickr pollenoid
Elizabeth YARWOOD The Taklaman Desert, which translates to the “desert of death”, surrounds the city of Kashgar, China. This city, closer to Baghdad than Beijing, was historically a cultural haven of ancient architecture and fascinating culture that attracted hordes of tourists. Now, with 85% of the city sentenced to destruction, the
city represents the irrepressible and amoral drive for modernisation, a compulsion that derives from China’s single-minded obsession with rapid development. And rapid is indeed the right word here. In early 2009, the Chinese government proposed
In the eyes of the Chinese government, the Old City of Kashgar is a source of fundamentalist Islam, a belief that opposes Chinese governmental control. This paranoia is evident in the destruction of the charming labyrinth-like streets that are extremely easy to get lost in – and hide in – and the construction of Foucauldian apartments. By optimizing visibility and enabling surveillance, the resulting oppression of the Uyghur people will curtail dissidence, which for a government long known for its obsession with conformism is well worth it. The second motivating factor behind the city’s obliteration is economic. The city lies alongside the Silk Road- an old trading route that has linked the Middle East and Asia for centuries. Moreover, the existence of the modern day equivalent to gold – oil – is an irresistible temptation for the Chinese government. For them, the economic gains are too high a price to pay for the preservation of a people’s customs. Such a disruptive intervention is motivated by the international pressure of modernity. However, China’s anti-humanitarian intervention in Kashgar marks a backwards attitude towards cultural integration and the preservation of history. Two conflicting international desires – modernisation and cultural diversity – have resulted, in this case, in modernity’s victory. Kashgar, once a ‘jewel of the Silk Road’, seems destined to merge into its deathly surroundings. Many thanks to Henryk Szadziewski for his insight into this situation.
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THE PROBLEM WITH ANONYMITY: Anonymous and the Ethics of Online Vigilante Justice Anonymous’s heteroclite and anarchist nature poses a challenge for any ethical analysis, making it both a benevolent and a terrorist organisation.
image imgur IfQxQMK
image flickr an untrained eye
Patrick JACK ‘All who claim anyone is in charge of the Million Mask March knows little of Anonymous. There is no official site, and nobody is in charge: it’s a movement, not an organization.’ So reads the masthead of a website which, ironically, played a key role in organising the latest protest by the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous. And therein lies the inherent problem with their self-named leaderless ‘hive’.. £2.99 – the cost of a Guy Fawkes mask on Ebay. This, along with a webcam and simple voice-altering software, is all it takes to gain a powerful online platform and turn one wannabe-vigilante into a fully-fledged spokesperson for these notorious cyber-warriors of the new age. With the mask on, any individual
can instantly embody the community. They are free to declare war against whomever they choose – something they do with glee. In the ten years since their unlikely conception on a forum described as one of the darkest corners of the internet, their operations have expanded from petty pranking of the Westboro Baptist Church to the moral crusades of the Arab Spring. This also marks the moment when the movement reached its apex, both morally and politically.
A core group of hard-line hackers claimed to be furious that the ‘worst thing on the Internet was now a force for good’ and launched a spree of vengeful attacks on major corporations for alleged offences. The majority of Anonymous members disapproved but were powerless to prevent it; the actions of a small few tarred them all as ‘domestic terrorists’, according to several leading networks. Anonymous inevitably finds itself atop this dangerous precipice with half its community wanting to right the wrongs of political and economic elites and the other half content just to
cause controversy and watch the world burn: one part ‘The Dark Knight’, one part ‘The Joker’. The Steubenville, Ohio rape case is the best evidence of this: the tide of public opinion quickly turned them from do-gooders shedding light on a forgotten injustice, to cowardly keyboard warriors attacking innocent townspeople of the dusty Mid-West. ‘KYAnonymous’, or Deric Lostutter, as he is now known to the courts, was the man behind the mask in this case, and despite two boys eventually being found guilty, he admits it spiralled out of control. ‘Anonymous is the internet, and you can’t control the internet,’ says the man who could now face up to ten years in jail for hacking a school website. Today the movement has stalled, due both to the concentrated efforts of the FBI to arrest its most nefarious members and a civil war within. Though they blamed a media blackout for the lack of mainstream coverage of the so-called ‘Million Mask March’, the harsh reality according to journalist Ian Katz was that their lack of numbers meant it just wasn’t ‘significant news’. In fact, the only newsworthy event that took place that evening was a photo that resurfaced of Guy Fawkes masks being mass produced in a sweatshop in Brazil. Each one ready to be distributed to another faceless footsoldier
furious about the injustices of capitalism, and each one a symbolic reminder of their hypocrisy. For a movement which advocates free speech so forcefully, they seem worryingly unconcerned about whether or not both sides of the argument get heard. While they’re ‘not really the judge nor the jury,’ KYAnonymous tell us, ‘it’s fair to say we are the executioner’.
Anonymous inevitably finds itself atop this dangerous precipice with half its community wanting to right the wrongs of political and economic elites and the other half content just to cause controversy and watch the world burn An attorney for several high-profile members of Anonymous claims ‘hackers are the new communists’, comparing their apparently unjust sentences to the rampant McCarthyism of the 1950s. What is therefore most worrying for them as a whole is that they risk befalling the same fate of their masked-hero himself, Guy Fawkes. While Anonymous may not be directly responsible for any online atrocities or real-world retributions, they will be the one caught holding the dynamite. THE WARWICK GLOBALIST
image flickr Julien Harneis
THE (LACK OF)
Menaal MUNSHEY Humanitarian intervention is a polemical topic. As historical instances examined within the international legal framework show, states are motivated by their own interests, rather than by ethical reasons. In 1990, Chapter VII of the UN Charter was expanded to include humanitarian concerns as threats to international peace and security. This has been followed by UN interventions into several states, including Somalia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Afghanistan and, most recently, Congo. The interventions of the 90s, however, were inconsistent and seen by some as a challenge to state sovereignty, rather than as interventions of an ethical nature.
In December 2001, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) responded to critics of intervention with a report titled The Responsibility to Protect (R2P). It proposed that “each state has a responsibility to protect its citizens, if a state is unable or unwilling to carry out that function, the state abrogates
R2P proposed reforming the way the Security Council works, by stating that “permanent members of the Council should abstain from using their veto to block the intervention unless the state has a vital national interest at stake”. Despite the changes, the system remains open to abuse because R2P does not do enough. Such a mere change in language would not circumvent a repeat of a Darfur-like situation where, despite the fact that 300,000 people have been killed and 1.75 million displaced, the international community is unwilling to take on the responsibility to protect Darfur’s citizens. This is largely due to powerful states’ economic self-interest: China is the “largest arms supplier to Sudan” and Russia has “sold $150 million worth of military equipment to Sudan”. It is these economic interests that cause the inaction in Darfur, and within the new framework such interests can continue to be defined as a state’s national interest.
Such inaction contrasts with the United States’ oil interests in Iraq, which resulted in a US-led invasion under the guise of humanitarian intervention. It is due to this inconsistency that a R2P Security Council Committee was proposed, to monitor intervention and its motivations and methods. Although a possibility, such a committee may be ineffective in protecting citizens and their rights, because as history has shown us, “the decisive factors will always be authority, political will and operational capacity”. This is evident in the UN Security Council’s decision to authorise an “intervention brigade” in Congo. In doing so, the UN depends on the cooperation of ten African nations to establish peace in the region. This includes Rwanda and Uganda: those nations accused, in a UN report last year, of helping the rebel group which swept through eastern Congo in 2012. The irony of this situation, in which the perpetrators are also supposed to be a source of support and peace, renders it dangerous for those who are victims of the violence and whose rights continue to be violated in the region. Ultimately, the international legal framework remains inadequate as a safeguard. States manipulate the Responsibility to Protect for their own interests as opposed to the interests of those who continue to suffer. In the decision-making process, ethics are of little importance, and are outweighed by a powerful state’s self-serving political and economic interests. This practice must be abandoned to truly give effect to the Responsibility to Protect’s ethical considerations.
RECLAIMING OUR PUBLIC SPACE: THE DANGERS OF STATE INTERVENTION
Recent government interventions have shown how crucial it is that the public become more aware and critical of manipulations of public space. Joe BRANDIN ‘Public space’ is an aspect of democracy and freedom often neglected in our age of ‘audiovisual’ culture. Its catalytic role as life line between people and power must be reexamined.
image flickr ukhomeoffice
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan justified these interventions by asking, ‘How else should the international community respond to gross and systematic violations of human rights that offend every precept of our common humanity?’ This is an argument frequently cited, and although not without its merits, it is not always sound. In some cases, it is in a state’s best interest to deal with matters internally and with international support, as intervention is often politically motivated and inevitably causes many casualties.
its sovereignty, at which point both the right and the responsibility to remedy the situation falls to the international community.” The language of the report imposes an ethical responsibility to powerful nations to protect, instead of just support, weaker countries. It failed to define what a state’s responsibilities are and in which instances a state would have failed these. Does the USA, which so often fails to provide healthcare and education to its citizens, fail in its responsibilities? Does Pakistan neglect its responsibilities by failing to provide physical security to many of its citizens? In its very definition, the Responsibility to Protect doctrine is flawed.
Look only to the rationale of those who would rather constrain public space: “[public space]... would only encourage democracy” (Gibbs, 1842) to consider its importance. Or look to the uprisings in Turkey and Egypt to see the symbolic and practical power of the public space. It enables a physical act of demanding attention otherwise foregone. However, intervention is underhandedly transforming this space towards a function in society which actively alienates citizens instead of empowering them. To stop this movement, we need to remind those altering the public space that we are not ignorant of our right to the commons. This concept of a public space where we can express grievance is traditionally centred on the geographical space at the heart of communities, beside the town hall or a municipal building. Yet the commercialisation of these
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images flickr Takver (left) flickr Teacher Dude’s BBQ (right)
spaces and the conscious move away from an urban design which facilitates a valuable public space means that this right must be exercised elsewhere, on the streets at large. The shrinking of public spaces and the intervention into the remaining space to delineate and define it – making clear what and whom is acceptable within this space – removes the quality of free access inherent and necessary for its democratic value.
image flickr Sacca
How should we intervene in the developing world?
Defining a public space as only accessible to some essentially ostracises those outside of the mould. It is a process long exacted by governments against such people as the homeless and prostitutes. Consider, for instance, “alcohol free” city centres designed to create more attractive public zones, yet by deduction rendering these spaces unwelcome to many homeless persons who rely on that space. Thereby causing their literal erasure from the public democratic space, minority groups become quite literally out of sight and out of mind.
The process of moulding our public space and defining its inhabitants escalated this summer with the UK Border Force’s vicious tactics towards high immigrant and asylum communities.
The process of moulding our public space and defining its inhabitants escalated this summer with the UK Border Force’s vicious tactics towards high immigrant and asylum communities. Their interventions involved the presence of vans displaying aggressive “Go Home” posters circling high immigration population areas, and spot checks around these communities’ tube stations. This predictably resulted in the further alienation of communities already suffering from a government and society ignorant to their realities.
Such interventions into a space designed to foster diversity (read: democracy) can only undermine it by causing divisions. The people who are being victimised are those who fundamentally need to be able to exercise the rights bestowed within an open public space. A marginalised community by definition holds few methods of communication with society at large and even less with those in power. The right to an open and free public space, in which one can demand the attention and hopefully respect of the government, is thus increasingly potent and necessary to allow these communities a voice if we are to call ourselves a democracy. These governmental tactics make it vehemently clear that any attempt from marginalised communities at a constructive public discourse is not a possibility. They act in a normative way, intimidating the already suffering and deploying a symbolic message that these streets, these public spaces, which to any other should be a method of empowerment, are not open. The message is clear: “Don’t bother trying.” Public space cannot be moulded to shape the citizenry and its representations according to a government’s ideology, because it then ceases to be a ‘public space’. Without a physical public space through which minority voices can express themselves, we cease to have a valuable democracy. The UKBA’s recent interventions further tested our estranged relationship to a foundational aspect of democracy, which only increases its importance. The robbery of marginalised people’s agency within public space requires a response from those still endowed that privilege. We must show that we still consider an unconstrained public space as an essential organ of democracy, and that democracy requires our government not to intervene with the aim of scaring or alienating away these ‘inconvenient’ voices.
Jessica WHITTLESTONE Given limited personal and national resources, which international developmental interventions should we choose to fund? There are more possible interventions that would appear to do good than are possible to support. In the face of this uncertainty, policymakers and individual donors must set aside impulsive intuitions and instead use reason and evidence to answer the fundamental question: how much will the intervention actually help? JUST BECAUSE IT SOUNDS LIKE IT WORKS, DOESN’T MEAN IT DOES. Some interventions do a lot of good. Some make very little or no difference. Others even do harm. We all think we have an idea of what will work and what won’t. Many of us have probably argued with friends or colleagues about what interventions we’d like to see. But are we actually any good at judging what’s likely to work?
Consider the following story about an attempt to provide poor villages with clean water: The ‘PlayPump’ seemed like a fantastic idea. Instead of the hand-water pump typically used, playground merrygo-rounds were designed to pump up water from deep underground as children played on them. The children would get their first playground amenity, and the village would get clean water. Win-win. Playpumps International got millions of dollars We all want to make the world in funding and a better place: the average even won the World Bank British citizen donates £10 a Development month to charity Marketplace award. But, in reality, it was a terrible idea. Compared to the old water pumps, Playpumps were harder to use, more expensive, and – crucially – they provided less water.
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This is the perfect example of something that sounds revolutionary and practical but which with deeper investigation proved in fact to make peoples’ lives worse and waste a great deal of resources. WHY ARE WE SO BAD AT TELLING WHAT WORKS? What’s particularly shocking about the casestudy of PlayPumps is that no-one questioned whether they would be effective. This rightly leaves us asking intelligent and qualified people – ‘experts’ – can have had such poor judgement. One explanation comes from psychology. We’re constantly faced with more information than we could ever possibly process. This means we often resort to mental shortcuts, allowing us to make quick decisions without considering all the information. Whilst these shortcuts often serve us well, they also often lead us astray.
image flickr Liz Henry
One such example is the affect heuristic. Studies suggest we usually judge how “good” or “bad” an action is by our emotional response to it. If an intervention is described to me, I’m likely to use how it makes me feel to judge whether or not it is likely to work. Often this strategy proves effective; those things that ‘help’ people will usually evoke positive emotional responses. However, as we saw with PlayPumps, it is highly possible for damaging interventions to be described in a way that provokes these positive affective reactions. On the other hand, there are interventions which may be much less emotionally compelling – distributing bednets to people in high risk malaria areas, for example –but which actually do a huge amount more good. WHY SHOULD WE CARE, AND WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS? We all want to make the world a better place: the average British citizen donates £10 a month to charity, and third sector jobs are widely sought after. However, research suggests that certain charities can be thousands of times more effective than others. If we’re not using evidence to judge where we donate, we are certainly helping much less than we could. What can we do about this? We must question our emotional intuitions. Following the advice of organisations like GiveWell, who provide information on which charities give you the most for your donations, is one useful way of doing this. This evidence-based approach is the backbone behind “effective altruism”: a movement which aims to use reason and evidence to make the world better as best we possibly can.
images flickr flicks-of-micks (right) flickr Son of Groucho (left)
image flickr Univeristy of Salford
The Forgotten ‘Troubles’ of the United Kingdom From the forefront of global political discussion to a footnote on the national agenda; Patrick Jack looks at Britain’s growing reluctance to deal with Northern Ireland and what this means for the Province. Patrick JACK For Northern Ireland, the last few months alone have played host to two political murders, three incidents of letter bombs, including one to the Secretary of State and most recently a bomb in Belfast city centre by a splinter-group of a splintergroup of the IRA. News of these events may come as a shock to some but this is no surprise to the rest of us. In a not-sodistant past Tony Blair earmarked the peace process as one of his Labour government’s key priorities, later championing the success of the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements which invoked international attention and commendation. Fast forward fifteen years and the ‘troubles’ of the UK’s forgotten province don’t make anywhere near as much noise on the front pages or the front benches. In August 2012 Northern Ireland’s Parades Commission placed restrictions on marching bands and in December Belfast City Council imposed a limit on the number of days the Union flag would be flown atop City Hall. These two seemingly insignificant bureaucratic decisions had huge ramifications resulting in almost two hundred policemen being injured in riots during the now infamous flag protests. And yet these large-scale riots barely merited mention in the mainstream media on the mainland, instead being eclipsed by the horsemeat scandal; ‘Belfast is burning while we harp on about horsemeat’, as The Guardian put it. Journalist Emer O'Toole believes this troubled image of conflict in Northern Ireland cashes with Britain's civilised view of itself. This serves to establish the Province as an 'elsewhere' and allows these kinds of events to take place unnoticed along with the use of draconian measures by the police forces to quell them. It’s not surprising then that all six water cannons in the UK are held in Belfast and Londonderry ready to be put into action at a moment’s notice – the use of which would require parliamentary permission in any other part of the UK.
The key issue that many need to be made aware of is that when it comes to history, there is no escape. There is no end to the animosity between Protestant and Catholic communities, merely periods of greater and lesser stability. Today is very much the latter. As is always the case during times of tension, the political discourse itself has also slowed. It has become so treacherous that former US envoy to Northern Ireland Dr Richard Haass was flown in for cross-party talks focusing on the issues of flags and parades in order to rectify the current stalemate in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The third issue being discussed is perhaps the most important of all: 'the past'. There's no denyThere is no end to the ing that today's animosity between Protestant predicament is infinitely safer and Catholic communities, for everyone in merely periods of more and Northern Ireland, but at the same lesser stability. Today is very time, there's a much the latter. growing feeling that we are just a few small backwards steps from returning to a time of fear and hate. Recent revelations on both sides of the fence have only served to add fuel to the current fires of political angst; members of the police service have been accused of colluding with loyalist paramilitaries, killing over 100 people between 1972 and 1976. Meanwhile, fresh evidence has once again brought the plight of the 'Disappeared' back into discussion; people murdered by the IRA during the troubles whose bodies were secretly buried around Ireland and never found. The hope is that the current talks chaired by Dr Haass will shed new light on their whereabouts and help forge a new path to reconciliation. But like much of Northern Ireland's past and future the ‘Disappeared’ seem doomed to remain in darkness. THE WARWICK GLOBALIST
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The New Face of the Asian Economy
Despite international scepticism about its value and remits, the ICC has found growing support from grassroots movements in Kenya with the trial of Uhuru Kenyatta.
...for women, it was virtually impossible to gain a place on the corporate ladder without a certain standard inone’s appearance
Joshua PRIVETT Set up in 2002 under the Rome Statute, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) mandate has been to carry out trials and prosecute individuals for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Based in The Hague, the ICC’s jurisdiction spans across those signatories of the Rome Statute where domestic courts are disinclined or incapable of investigating and prosecuting such crimes. One such example is the ongoing trial of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice-President William Ruto, both of whom have been accused of orchestrating the 2007 post-election violence which claimed the lives of over 1,300 people and has left 600,000 homeless.
image flickr Gavin Kealy
Kenya and the ICC
All eight investigations currently underway at The Hague are related to African atrocities. And taking advantage of this fact both Kenyatta and Ruto have led a very public smear campaign to undermine the ICC making liberal use of the words ‘hypocrisy’, ‘racism’, and ‘neoimperialism’. Such rhetoric, alongside their continual delay tactics, has been working. In July, the polling group Ipsos-Synovate found that only 39 percent of Kenyans wanted the trials to proceed. That figure had dropped from 55 percent in April 2012.
A Trial at Home and Abroad
The fact that the ICC’s prerogative only applies to events following its inception has also served to fuel ardent criticisms of victim labelling by its defendants, many of whom cite double standards as they recall the atrocities committed under Western colonial rule. Many will see this as sound argument but look deeper and you find that this isn’t just a classic case of Western imposition of its own ideals. There exists a vast web of grassroots organisations, domestically and internationally devoted to moving these trials forward, including in Kenya. But, it seems this fact is largely ignored by the media, focusing instead on state-level dynamics over and above the substantial agency below it. And in Kenya, the people are fighting for their right to justice.
South Korea’s staggering economic performance has been accompanied by an insatiable appetite for plastic surgery, adding yet another barrier to female career progression. Minnie KWEON South Korea has regularly made the headlines due to it seismic levels of economic growth, in large part the result of the global dominance of its large conglomerates or ‘chaebols’. Companies such as Kia, Samsung, LG and Hyundai were virtually unheard of 20 years ago but have since become household names in the West. These companies also host the most competitive jobs in South Korea but there exists a problem facing aspiring women for these highly sought-after positions: appearance. One unforeseen outcome of South Korea’s economic rise has been the parallel upsurge in plastic surgery. According to the Economist 650,000 such procedures took place in 2011 proportionally ranking South Korea as the highest in the world, with 1 in 5 women in Seoul having gone under the knife in the name of beauty and perfection.
Appearance is important in Korean society; there is no doubt about that. My recent internship in Seoul started with a presentation of photographs of those who were successful in gaining places at the company and those who were not. The implications were glaring. After a month at this multinational firm it was obvious that, for women, it was virtually impossible to gain a place on the corporate ladder without a certain standard in one’s appearance. This is not to say, especially in an education system as effective as South Korea’s, that qualifications are not important. Nor is it to say that appearances do not play a part in corporate sexism elsewhere globally. However, amongst the di-
shevelled men on their 8pm smoke breaks, a woman with her lipstick out of place was an unlikely viewing. In Korean media, the gender differences are even more striking. One would expect discrimination of a different sort on mainstream news channels. Yet seated next to their older male counterparts are a plethora of manicured and wrinkleless women. The implications for economic mobility and gender equality are extensive. Granted, the search for superficial perfection is gender neutral. The posters of male ‘before-andafters’ are given as much import as the airbrushed female faces; as such male insecurities are equally targeted. However, this equality is not reflected in the corporate sphere; here it only serves to add another pane to the glass ceiling, adopted as part of the Western model of economic prosperity Korea has otherwise matched so successfully. Ultimately such expectations add an economic incentive to the social pressures that fuel South Korea’s unquenchable thirst for plastic surgery.
Ushahidi.com is a website set up to track incidents of post-election violence in Kenya, complete with maps and reporting forms. This and other modes of reaching out to potential witnesses are crucial. Witnesses are ‘disappearing’, refusing to testify, and retracting previous testimony. As I write the defence is currently lobbying against the Absent ICC Witness Rule. Removing this will make the testimony of these unable to be physically present at the court inadmissible. Without the work of these organisations the voices of the dead, missing, sick, and many of those injured during the actual violence will be muted. Another such grassroots organisation is Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ), a partnership consisting of more than 30 Kenyan and East African organisations providing legal challenges following the aftermath of the post-election violence . Believing the ‘local judicial mechanism to compliment ICC cases’; KPTJ’s work fosters structural support for the ICC trial.
image flickr kevinzim
The causes of this are intriguing, and are a point of controversy for many online commentators. Despite the statistic that double eyelid surgery – which creates the Caucasian crease many Asian women lack – is one of the most popular forms of plastic
surgeries in South Korea, the presumption of Western idealisation in the pursuit of a ‘western look’ are offensive and embarrassing to the Asian psyche. It is a disheartening fact that, while in most countries the controversies surrounding plastic surgery revolve solely around an apparently shallow search for perfection; in Asia the issue is entwined with the subject of race.
Corruption in Africa is a stereotype that concentrates political agency to the individual or the party. The citizens of Kenya are not being ‘saved’ by the ICC case but are, themselves fighting in a partnership to force accountability. And after six years, they are still fighting to heal.
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Is This What Victory Looks like? Afghanistan’s government is now in a position to support itself – the US needs to just let go this time
image flickr The U.S. Army
Justin LESNIAK Even as an American I still can’t understand what we were supposed to accomplish in Afghanistan. The mission went from combating terrorism to promoting democracy to rebuilding a war torn nation and it seems none of those things have yet been fully accomplished. However one thing is becoming clearer every day; the Afghan government is now capable of standing up for and supporting itself and no requires the same level of US support as it has received over the past decade.
What has all of that money accomplished for the United States? Well, if it was attempting to buy influence it does not seem to be working. President Karzai seems to be playing the US for fools, negotiating a new security agreement for American forces in November only
to reject it and increase his demands weeks later according to an NBC investigation. Afghanistan is a more stable country now, a sure benefit from US military and economic aid and stable enough to strike a favorable deal with a Chinese company to sell the world’s third largest copper mine in Aynak. After more than a decade, it is clear Afghanistan now has a government capable of standing up for itself and the resources necessary to develop its own economy. This is what ‘victory’ in Afghanistan looks like in the real world though it is clearly not as glamorous as some would imagine. The US should no longer feel obligated to be taken advantage of by the government it helped create. Afghanistan appears ready to stand on its own feet for better or worse.
The failed wars of the past have shown that political indecision isn’t always a bad thing – in fact it’s crucial in maintaining democratic virtue Ellis BOLLE It's not often that you find yourself in the middle of a coffee meeting between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, or in the fenced perimeter of a Syrian refugee camp. But pedestrians walking along the streets outside the UN building in New York this autumn might well have stumbled into this strange vortex fixed into the ground by street artist Eduardo Relero (pictured). Relero's 3D painting depicts the leaders crouched over the map of Syria while refugees look on from one side of the fence and the back of heads join the spectator in representing the world watching from afar. His art says something important about the nature of public participation in the debate over intervention in Syria and the broken confidence of Western politicians. It’s a powerful representation of
anxious and indecisive politicians, struggling to address the worst humanitarian crisis of this century. In this work, Syria is both the space for the performance of an international negotiating process and the geopolitical chessboard for the Russia vs. America tournament. Relero's interpretation fits in with common criticisms of politicians as ‘indecisive’ and ‘unfocused’ – the words used by former diplomat John Bolton to describe Obama at the G20 conference in Russia. Indeed, the image could be used to represent the divisions in the British and French governments, with figures such as Ed Miliband denounced for wavering on whether or not to support Cameron´s proposal of military action. Thus, Relero's coffee for two could just as easily be turned
into a tea party of world leaders who, like Obama, would surely be sitting with their heads in their hands, looking hesitant and lost while more refugees surround the fence and the coffee gets cold. Yet, in light of the overwhelming unpopularity of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, is it any wonder that leaders appeared to be indecisive? Furthermore, is this tentativeness and caution synonymous with weakness, or could politicians sitting on the fence (or, in Relero's painting, sitting inside the fence) be in some way beneficial and provide an opportunity for them to engage with a public opinion? It might be argued that the thoughtful silence of the politician is a powerful democratic tool that gives the public the opportunity to speak- and in this case the voice said no to war. The post-Iraq foreign politics of caution has opened the space for wider social involvement in political debate, creating an army of people determined not to repeat the failures of the early 21th century. These are the people on the streets of New York who, on their walk through the city, fall into the chasm in the pavement to find themselves in the arena with Obama and Putin.
image Shant Alexander
To say that this is poor diplomatic relationship is an understatement. Speaking at a press conference with George W. Bush in 2008, President Karzai joked: “Afghanistan will not allow the international community leave it (sic) before we are fully on our feet, before we are strong enough to defend our country, be-
fore we are powerful enough to have a good economy, and before we have taken from President Bush and the next administration billions and billions of more dollars”. A moment of candor perhaps from president Karzai. At least it seems so based on findings from a New York Times report which claimed that the CIA has been sending millions to Karzai’s office for more than a decade. But why stop there? According to The Guardian, Karzai himself has admitted to accepting money from Iran.
On the Fence
The essential problem with the politics of indecision and caution is depicted in the silent faces of the Syrian refugees who stand for the thousands of dispossessed and dead, looking up from the ground, reminding us not to forget their alienation from behind the wired fence.
THE WARWICK GLOBALIST
ARTS AND CULTURE
ARTS AND CULTURE
ARTS AND CULTURE
For every photo on the page there are “a hundred agonies” ignored; one can never truly imagine the horror of warfare from the comfort of the sofa.
War Photography in Focus
As images of suffering occupy an increasingly dislocated ethical position in society, there is an inherent fear that war photography is no longer a tool for virtuous political leverage; has our media-saturated culture rendered it a commodity? At what cost? Helena SKINNER It is possible to chronicle the last century’s major conflicts through photography; the iconic image of the young napalm victim captured by Nick Ut would neatly represent the Vietnam War, whilst James Nachtwey’s distressing shot of the corpses of Serbian soldiers heaped in a cargo truck could exemplify the horror of the Bosnia and Herzegovina crisis. Photographs of war condense conflict to a single image: for what purpose? Is this uncomfortably digestible form to edify, or to commemorate? Or could it simply be a strange fascination with suffering?
The current era of media bombardment and subsequent ubiquity of shocking images has plunged us violently onto a Sontag-style superhighway. Indeed, Don McCullin fears the vast expansion of the publications industry and rise of the Internet have negated his work: “The media world has grown so much. It needs to be fed, fed, fed, with an almost obnoxious demand for more tragedy, more celebrity, more horror’’. The ethical implications of our culture of consumption and greed are captured brilliantly in the following lines from Carol Ann Duffy’s poem War Photographer:
This vision, however, is too nihilistic. To flagellate ourselves for our role as consumers (or for our impotence) is unproductive. In the same way, to assume the desensitisation to images is total is to underestimate the impact of war photography, and its scope. Not all war photography centres on suffering, some of the most powerful examples are those which focus on the margins of combat, or show the acts of humanity
image flickr Nat. Media Museum
The motivation for war photography is often ascribed to the political and ethical sphere. War photographer Don McCullin defended immortalising the emaciated, skeletal children of Biafra as an entirely ethical undertaking, stating the images “were meant to be seen by politicians and decision makers”. Yet often these photographs transcend the political and ethical arena, becoming aesthetic objects in their own right. Robert Capa’s infamous Falling Soldier was lauded for encapsulating the fleeting existence of a generation obliterated by the Spanish Civil War, and thus became the focus of furious artistic debate. Such rhetoric complicates Capa’s motivations: death, suffering and violence are aestheticized. It was filmmaker Susan Sontag, in her treatise On
Photography, who famously acknowledged the problematic kinship of violence and art, and its disastrous tendency “to suppress/reduce moral and sensory queasiness”. Sontag relates this to photography in particular, when she speaks of the effect of increased exposure to violent or pornographic images: “Once one has seen such images, one has started down the road of seeing more – and more. Images transfix. Images anaesthetise.”
image flickr the measure of mike
Through the Lens
In an age where decapitation and gore are a prerequisite for the sale of a newspaper and serve only to interrupt momentarily the leisurely routine of the reader, the humanitarian endeavours of the war photographer become increasingly obscured. Duffy’s poetic image encapsulates the central paradox contained in endeavours of photo journalism: photographs are supposedly harbingers of truth, yet become tarnished by their publication and consumption: for every photo on the page there are “a hundred agonies” ignored; one can never truly imagine the horror of warfare from the comfort of the sofa. If the spoils of photojournalism are considered a commodity to be consumed and thrown away, it is impossible not to contemplate the horrifically exploitative nature of the media machine; a pornography of suffering.
A hundred agonies in black-and-white from which his editor will pick out five or six for Sunday’s supplement. The reader’s eyeballs prick with tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers. Don McCullin
and kindness in these apparently “lawless” spaces. A perfect example of this is Tim Hetherington’s Sleeping Soldier Portrait series, which capture grown men - whose daily life is dominated by violence and control - in a moment of innocent abandon and escape. The symbolic parallels of sleep and death are poignant and thus the photos become an elegy for the lives lost in the Afghan war. While the beauty and artistic quality of Hetherington’s images are problematic for some, he himself conceived it his journalistic task to raise consciousness of political and social aspects of war through creative engagement on an “imaginative level”. Here the implicit symbolism in the photographs demands the critical engagement of viewers, rendering the human tendency to remain detached obsolete. The motivation and meaning of war photography are too often detached from the images themselves: it is then our responsibility, as critical viewers, to reconcile them. Hetherington’s notorious journalistic aspirations highlight a further threat to our critical faculties: the societal tendency to celebrate war photographers for their bravery, in a form of fetishized hero worship. Indeed, Hetherington’s untimely death - killed by shrapnel while covering the 2011 Libyan civil war - paved the way for a posthumous biopic centred upon his “heroic” endeavours. Although the film was made by his friends to process and come to terms with his death (an endeavour that ironically correlates with war photography itself), telling the narrative of one man, against a backdrop of nameless mass suffering, leaves a slightly bitter after taste. Hetherington’s large public presence on social media during his lifetime suggests he was not against using the “Hetherington brand” to achieve global popularity. Though such tactics may advance a political or social cause, the focus is somewhat skewed: the human subjects of the photographs should
be paramount, not the cult of celebrity. As McCullin admirably repudiates, “I cannot allow myself to be celebrated… not for any of those photographs.” Ultimately, war photographers perform a necessary ethical function: the act of witnessing and recounting atrocities. The journalistic elevation of ethical duty is powerfully rendered in the words of the fittingly unnamed (and unnameable) reporter who took the shocking pictures of decapitation in Syria that featured in Time Magazine in September 2013: “The war in Syria has reached the point where a person can be mercilessly killed in front of hundreds of people—who enjoy the spectacle. As a human being I would never have wished to see what I saw. But as a journalist I have a camera and a responsibility. I have a responsibility to share what I saw that day. That’s why I am making this statement and that’s why I took the photographs. I will close this chapter soon and try never to remember it.” While he may be trying hard to forget, photographs immortalise moments; documenting history in profoundly important and powerful way. The political piquancy and commodified context that problematize the brutal images are overcome by its mere existence: in the age of the Internet, this image cannot and will not go unseen. Although we may chastise our multi-mediated culture, with its cornucopia of shocking photographs that inundate and overwhelm, an alternate censored existence is a far more disturbing prospect. The recent Arab uprisings themselves demonstrate the possibility of new media and enduring power of the shocking images as tools for political leverage. In this instance images of injustice did not anaesthetize, they did quite the opposite. THE WARWICK GLOBALIST
ARTS AND CULTURE Lewis SMITH It is always interesting to start somewhere other than at the beginning, so I shall start in the middle. More specifically: in the middle of the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, surrounded by Monet’s panoramic masterpieces, ‘Les Nymphéas’ (water lilies). Here, in the rooms constructed specifically to accommodate the paintings - which stand two metres tall and around ninety metres long in total - one is afforded a rare moment of calm in the heart of a city that never sleeps. Indeed, ever since its opening in 1927, the space has served as a tranquil refuge for Parisians and tourists alike, fulfilling the role that Monet himself intended when he donated the artworks to the city in the aftermath of the First World War. If ever such a haven were necessary, one could argue that the time is now, with stress, anxiety and uncertainty
ARTS AND CULTURE seemingly fundamental features of everyday life. Indeed, stress-related illness has risen dramatically in recent years: in Britain for example, a recent survey found one in five workers to have suffered a stress-related illness, while stress has become the most common cause of long term sick-leave in the country. Equivalent statistics can be found in many ‘developed’ countries, and it is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that a recent World Value Survey found 81.6% of respondents expressing a desire to live a “more simple and natural life”. Yet if, such heightened sense of vulnerability is symptomatic of the postmodern, urbanised global age, it is perhaps justifiable to question the ease with which any dramatic lifestyle change can actually be achieved. For just as stress and anxiety are becoming more pervasive, so too are the structures and logic of global capitalism, facilitated by the
economic process of globalisation that has left fewer and fewer of the world’s stones unturned. Not just in scale, but also in intensity, one can argue that the nature and influence of late capitalism is becoming even more totalizing. Specifically, advances in digital technology and communications have promoted the ‘immaterial’ to a new heightened importance as an opportunity for capital accumulation. As a result, scholars such as Moulier-Boutang have argued a new stage of ‘cognitive’ capitalism has emerged, in which “the object of accumulation consists mainly of knowledge.” Others describe such a condition as an ‘economy of attention,’ arguing attention itself has become the scarce resource exploited for profit, more than simply physical exploitation. And while for some, this can be interpreted as an exciting business opportunity, for others it represents a form of alienation that is ever more difficult to escape.
A further hindrance to the achievement of a simpler, more natural life can be found in the seemingly paradoxical definition of ‘natural’ at a time of ‘capitalist realism’. Indeed, if commentators such as Mark Fisher are to be considered, the very structures that are causing the demand for a more natural life are at the same time deemed entirely natural in their own right. Or, for Zizek: “on account of its If all-pervasiveness, ideology appears as its own opposite, as non-ideology, as the core of our human identity underneath all the ideological labels.” If a more natural life is to be achieved then, it would first require a fundamental questioning of what exactly is natural or normal, and a consideration of how these seemingly objective realities are in fact socio-historical constructions, as produced through interactions and power relations that have developed within and because of a logic of capital accumulation.
A musing upon the politics of space, vacuoles, and resistance in an 'economy of attention'.
‘economy / ecology of attention’
image flickr benoit_d
ReflectionsMonet’s onnymphéas, reflecting space and the
One example of this, and we can return to Monet’s water lilies to help us reflect upon, is space. In general, space is considered in largely objective terms: as something to be known, understood and conquered. The evidence of this can be found as much in Google Maps as the colonial missions of preceding centuries. Simultaneously, space is seen to possess decreasing political or social relevance, in this global, digital age in which innovations and exchanges supposedly break down or ‘overcome’ traditional spatial boundaries. Space, in such narratives, is presented as natural, knowable and fixed, amidst a rapidly changing world. Yet far from being natural or fixed, scholars such as Massey have sought to demonstrate that space too, is “the product of interrelations; as constituted through interactions.” Studying such interactions reveals that the construction of space is still very much ongoing, and that underneath naturalised assumptions lie intrinsically political and economic objectives. David Harvey, for example, has sought to demonstrate how conceptions of space and urban sites are fundamentally embedded in capitalism and therefore saturated by class structures. What’s more, capitalism relies on these ‘naturalised’ assumptions about space as “an essential ideological ingredient”
to facilitate its reproduction. It is in this context that a reflection on space and our assumptions towards it can perhaps prove useful, and in the Musée de l’Orangerie, absorbed in the infinite tranquillity of Monet’s nymphéas, some tentative reconsiderations can be made. For here, one does not seek to possess or conquer space, nor
Secondly, les nymphéas suggest a possibility of finding space, even constructing space, to resist, disrupt and escape the chaos of modern life. One example of this can be found in a return to the notion of an ‘economy of attention’. As a counter to such a condition, Yves Citton suggests it is necessary to attempt to conceptualize an ‘ecology of attention.’ One way of doing so is through
ever such a haven were necessary, one could argue that the time is now, with stress, anxiety and uncertainty seemingly common features of everyday life. even try and define it. There are no distinguishable distinctions between water, sky or earth, rather, to quote the museum pamphlet: an “illusion of an endless whole, of water without horizon and without shore.” Indeed, rather than looking at space, one is consciously within space, and in this respect reminded of Heidegger’s assertion that ‘to be,’ as the essence of humanity, is ‘to be-in’, and not simply to become. Such recognition seems a valuable foundation to begin to reconsider both our material surroundings and the capacities of our own imaginations. There are, then, two specific lessons one can take from Monet’s water lilies, as guidelines to subvert or disrupt the totalizing nature of global capitalism. Firstly, as discussed above, Les Nymphéas demonstrate the value of acknowledging space, and our own existence within it, just as Monet himself sought to do in painting his surroundings. In seeking to capture the sensation of space, rather than a definition of it, the paintings raise a powerful objection to the assumption of ‘the world as a picture,’ instead showing it to be something shaped by, and at the same time shaping humanity. Moreover, it can allow us to raise questions about the other spaces that we find ourselves navigating through on a daily basis, specifically, to ask how these spaces have been constructed and for what purpose? Acknowledging the ideological underpinnings of what is largely accepted as normal can serve as a valuable starting point to challenge the dominant narrative of ‘capitalist realism’.
the creation of ‘vacuoles’: pauses for moments of reflection and questioning. Monet’s water lilies demonstrate space can play a fundamental role in the creation of such vacuoles. Indeed, the hope, for Monet when he conceived the project was that: “nerves strained by work would relax in its presence, following the restful example of its stagnant waters, and for he who would live in it, this room would offer a refuge for peaceful meditation in the midst of a flowering aquarium.” Finding these spaces, and integrating such vacuoles into everyday life, in whatever form they may take, can therefore serve as an important disruption in the uncompromising machinery of capitalism, and an opportunity to think about what exactly we are looking for. Space, therefore, can be “an essential element in the imaginative structure which enables… an opening up to the very sphere of the political,” and Monet’s Nympheas offer one possibility of exploring this. Andy Brewin has written that “living without reflecting is like driving without looking,” and it is through space that one can perhaps begin to reflect, on space but also on life itself, and the politics beneath the assumptions. And perhaps most crucially of all, space, like Monet’s water lilies, can therefore serve as a reminder of a “genuine openness of the future;” by demonstrating the possibility to exist within, and even shape, an alternative. In an era of ‘capitalist realism,’ it may indeed be “easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism,” but Monet’s Nymphéas show there is still a considerable space in between.
THE WARWICK GLOBALIST
Ibtisam AHMED Superheroes are an extraordinary expression of the human imagination. Typically, as harbingers of hope and the triumph of good over evil, they represent the grand utopian impulse, an unwavering belief in a better world. While they might not be recognised as high culture, their increasing prevalence in mass media, especially their growing popularity in film, provides an often overlooked window into the collective conscience and into contemporary socio-political debates. As one of the most enduring heroes of all time, Superman is an excellent example of how superheroes transcend simple entertainment, becoming cultural talismans and expressions of the zeitgeist.
Hope and Fear: Superman as a cultural expression of the everyman, or perhaps The Man himself?
So what values does Superman stand for? On the one hand, he is the Big Blue Boy Scout, protecting the helpless populace from tyranny, the defender of the “little guy” and the epitome of liberal values. Though we most often associate him with physical brawls against destructive super-powered villains, throughout the cultural canon he can be seen working on humanitarian efforts in earthquake zones, helping disarm land mines, and in the 1987 film Superman IV: the Quest for Peace he advocates nuclear non-proliferation. As is made abundantly clear throughout his portrayals, even in the relatively more violent Man of Steel, he will never resort to harming innocents - even as collateral damage - placing him clearly on moral high ground.
image flickr Greenog
On the other hand, Superman has also been used to explore the dangers of misapplied power. Superman: Red Son and Superman: the Dark Side looks at alternate realities where he was raised in Soviet Russia and the fictional planet of Apokolips, respectively. In these “anti-democratic” and “anti-American” climates, he became an instrument of authoritarian oppression, utilising fear rather than hope to keep the population in check. In many ways, even the liberal Kansas-born Superman of mainstream canon is an instrument of control; society is better not because he protects it, but because fear of his retaliation keeps dangerous elements at bay. The parallels between his powers and US military might cannot go unnoticed: super strength (nuclear strength), stealth flight (drone warfare) and heightened senses (surveillance technology). Thus Superman is more of an ethically problematic figure than his Boy Scout reputation would have us believe.
The Superman phenomenon is a politically charged field: a quick comparison of the Superman films show how he is used to explore the American political anxieties of the time. In Superman (1978), the titular hero opposes the corrupt bureaucrat and billionaire Lex Luthor. Released in the same decade as Watergate, the Vietnam War and during a Democrat presidency, academics such as Marc DiPaolo have noted how it represents a larger call for trust. In Superman II (1980) and, to a lesser extent, Superman III (1983), we see blatant expressions of anxieties against Communism, with the villains spewing dogmatic rhetoric and standing against liberal democratic freedoms. Perhaps most relevant for us then, is 2013 blockbuster Man of Steel, in which the perceived threat of Communism has been replaced by that of militant terrorism. It can be no coincidence that Superman has to go up against his own kind to protect the world or, at least, the USA from “alien invasion”. While it should not be forgotten that the antagonistic Kryptonians are a splinter group considered dangerous on their home planet as well, there is still a clear dichotomy between the “alien” villains and the “American” hero. Indeed, with his red and blue costume and his insistence on being raised in Kansas, Superman is an exaggerated stand-in for patriotic legal immigrants. The scene where he reassures a US military general that he is “as American as you can get” is particularly striking in a year when the US immigration debate is raging. Interestingly, throughout the genre, Superman does not oppose, nor is opposed by the government, despite his inherently threatening nature. This leads us to question; whose side is he on? Is he representing the “everyman” ideals, or perhaps more conservative ideologies? While the stories we read and watch might be wondrous, superhero narratives are in no way detached from reality. As the range of plots show, Superman is an enduring creative opportunity for exploring contemporary fears and debates in the safety of the fantastical realm. Such analysis also shows how necessary it is to interrogate our cultural icons or heroes: what exactly does it mean to wear a t-shirt with Superman’s emblem on it? While in theory superheroes stand for hope and radical change for good, any in-depth analysis will reveal an unnervingly conservative counternarrative.
PERSPECTIVES Indeed, ever since the Great Communicator left office, rendering “MarxismLeninism on the ash heap of history”, consecutive U.S. governments from both political parties have further pushed for the militarisation of space, following the eternal Clausewitzian truth that whoever seizes the high ground first, wins. Following the best traditions of hypocrisy and double standards that have made the “indispensable nation” as great as it is today, the Clinton and Bush administrations have reintroduced SDI deceptively wrapped up and hidden in a Trojan Horse under the name of “Missile Defense”.
May the Force be with U.S.
Shortly after coming into office, President Bush and his friends from the Project for a New American Century withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM), which, in Article 5.1 in particular, limited the U.S.’ ability to test anti-satellite and anti-missile defence systems in space.
Markus MARKERT In reply to Republican complaints about a shrinking U.S. military apparatus last year, President Obama remarked that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military has changed”; a comment which has since achieved fame across the political spectrum. Only a few, however, seem to have realised the deeper meaning of his statement. Strategy debates are still focused on the traditional land, air and sea ways of war, and popular peace movements continue to protest against intercontinental ballistic missiles, allowing their ideal visions of themselves as selfless champions of freedom to distract them from what is happening above their heads. Yet Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI), better known as “Star Wars”, is, as Russia’s Vladimir Putin observed during the 2007 Munich Conference on Security Policy, “no longer a fantasy – it is a reality”.
HOW DID IT COME TO THIS? Turning a blind eye to their rather mixed human rights record, the U.S. and Soviet Russia started a large-scale domestication campaign (see Operation Paper Clip) of former Third Reich scientists, including Wernher von Braun, father of the V1 and V2 rockets and the eventual mastermind behind the U.S. space programme. Looking at space as a new arena of war and developing schemes to control the earth from above, this original Dr. Strangelove laid the foundations for the developments to come when he pointed out that “the conquest of space represents the outstanding challenge to science and technology of the age in which we live”. The space race between the two superpowers, only partially mitigated by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty which banned WMDs from space, reached a preliminary climax in the 80s with Reagan’s vision to erect a defensive fortress in space that would shield the “free world” from the “evil empire”. But things did not end there.
Peace movements continue to protest An impression of what exactly this might mean can be found in against intercontinental ballistic the work of Alfred McCoy, who, missiles, distracted from what is in his article Space Warfare and the Future of US Global Power, happening above their heads. warns that “the Pentagon hopes to patrol the entire globe ceaselessly, relentlessly via a triple canopy space shield reaching from stratosphere to exosphere, driven by drones armed with agile missiles, linked by a resilient modular satellite system, monitored through a telescopic panopticon, and operated by robotic controls.” In an obvious reference to the old strategy debate of Rimland vs. Heartland, he maintains that “by late 2011, the Air Force and the CIA had already ringed the Eurasian land mass with a network of 60 bases for drones (…) allowing air strikes against targets just about anywhere in Europe, Africa, or Asia”. These drones include “Global Hawks” operating at the lowest level of the U.S. space shield, ensuring the effective conduct of space warfare operations. Now, if the United States succeeds with this bold technological breakthrough, it would mean that 5% of the world’s population could and would deny the rest of mankind access to space - a thought that certainly makes heart of every frustrated Marxist beat faster! Moreover, although facing potentially waning economic influence, the U.S. domestic energy revolution and space and information warfare may form the foundation for another Pax Americana in the 21st century and a continuation of U.S. global dominion. It is thus seems likely that the Empire strikes back! Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam
image flickr EricMagnuson
image flickr Howard Longden
Endangering his prospects for a future career in the military-industrial complex, Markus Markert identifies the U.S.-driven weaponisation of space as both a threat to the survival of the species and as a potential tool for the continuation of a 21st century Pax Americana.
THE OBAMA YEARS AND BEYOND This aggressive course has not been reversed by President Obama. On the contrary, as the last episode of Oliver Stone’s documentary The Untold History of the United States depicts, the champion of hope and change has only accelerated the process of putting weapon systems into space. Unveiling the Pentagon’s new strategy, Obama made it clear that the announced 14% cut in U.S. infantry would be compensated for by an increased emphasis on “full-spectrum dominance” in the realms of cyber- and outer-space and the development of what the administration’s strategists call “critical space-based capabilities” (see Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense).
As Lord Stern famously suggested, climate change is a “result of the greatest market failure the world has seen”.
The image flickr 350.org
Resistance Movement: Tackling the Real Villain
As the world hurtles towards climate catastrophe and the environmental movement seems impotent to the market logic driving it, Chris Maughan points to a new power emerging: the Fossil Free movement, which takes the fight to the enemy, fossil fuel companies. Chris MAUGHAN In 2009 the climate change movement appeared to be dead in the water. However, since the conspicuous failure of Copenhagen to produce any meaningful resolutions, a number of organisations have been steadily rebuilding. At the centre of this effort are 350.org and its founder Bill McKibben. Their rise to prominence has been a powerful reminder that many of our assumptions about the rhythms of social movements are at best vague, and at worst arbitrary. On paper 350.org should be virtually unknown: their name is perplexingly arcane, their literature is stat-heavy, and McKibben himself is self-consciously an “unlikely” leader. More than simply surviving as a group, 350.org have achieved the near-impossible, smashing numerous civil disobedience records, launching a movement with a huge global following (over 188 countries and growing), and successfully negotiating the treacherous terrain of systemic politics to identify what we all need: an enemy. Crucial to the movement has been 350.org’s Fossil Free campaign. Seeking to decouple universities, as well as religious and financial institutions, from their investments in the fossil fuel industry, the campaign has stormed across the United States and recently entered the United Kingdom. Its message is simple: whilst the fossil fuel industry continues to block legisla-
tion and progress on tackling climate change, no solution will be found. The industry is therefore an obstacle to be removed. Despite 350.org’s decision to point the finger at fossil fuel companies, their success lies precisely in the hidden complexity which characterises their particular brand of activism, a key feature of which has been what is known as ‘divestment’: the withdrawal of finances from (in this case) the fossil fuel industry for express moral and political reasons. While divestment will not financially bankrupt the industry, it can do something equally dangerous; it can morally bankrupt them. Removing their ‘social license to operate’, exposing their abuse of human rights, their obfuscating of evidence, their willingness to see the planet burn, is an essential move in this fight. The positioning of fossil fuel companies as the villain in the climate change drama is little more than a clever way to draw upon a popular hunger for identifying protagonists at times of widespread crises. Such behaviour is commonplace among activists, but where 350.org stand out is in their capacity to successfully bring this force to bear on what is in reality a much more complex problem. At root, 350.org offer a critique of market relations, not a witch-hunt. Markets, for all that
Fossil Free Europe Tour – Amsterdam
they do well, internalise only some aspects of their costs and benefits, externalising the huge cost of environmental destruction and creating perverse incentives to act in ways which produce short term gains, often at long term loss. As Lord Stern famously suggested, climate change is a “result of the greatest market failure the world has seen”. Markets become problematic, as the anthropologist Michael Taussig Fossil Free Warwick University puts it, at the point at which we ask only “what is good for been busy building a case for business?” rather than “what is business good for?”.
has the University to withdrawal financially from the fossil fuel industry.
In his recent book, Oil and Honey, Bill McKibben states that the aim of the “fossil fuel resistance movement” is to “politically bankrupt” fossil fuel companies by coordinating a powerful popular rejection of a world-view which envisages anything short of a rapid phasing-out of fossil fuels. As the Carbon Tracker Initiative has demonstrated, current proven reserves of all the world’s fossil fuels are over five times greater than even the most conservative climate models suggest we can safely burn. The Fossil Free movement is about demanding an equitable market, rather than one which binds us in a death-pact.
The Fossil Free movement provides a powerful sense of how small actions can build into much more concrete expressions of what we want as communities. Indeed, this is what social movements are all about. According to the sociologist Alberto Melucci, social movements “announce the commencement of change; not, however, a change in the distant future but one that is already a presence”. 350.org now counts 26 institutions among its “committed”; that is, institutions which have now removed from their investment portfolios and financial endowments any trace of the fossil fuel industry. Though small in appearance, these 26 institutions are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg; many hundreds more are in the process of following suit, including, in fact, the University of Warwick itself. Fossil Free Warwick University, set up in October of this year, has been busy building a case for the University to make a similar gesture of financial withdrawal from the fossil fuel industry. The rapid success of such groups is testament to the sense that a collective desire to move away from fossil fuel dependence is, in Melucci’s terms, “already a presence” in our society. For a movement recently in disarray, divestment offers the best chance of success simply because it provides the blueprint for the collective response so long called for by climate change activists. Students of Warwick, join it now! For more information on Fossil Free Warwick University, and to sign the petition, go to http://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/fossil-free-warwick-university
THE WARWICK GLOBALIST
Why the Repression of Golden Dawn is not the Death Toll for Fascism in Greece Despite the recent crackdown on the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, Alex Johnston argues that the socio-economic conditions which gave rise to the far-right party and its divisive discourse continue to exist, rendering fascism in Greece alive and well. image LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images
Alex JOHNSTON Nikolas Michaloliakos, the charismatic leader of the Golden Dawn, has been jailed pending trial, alongside several of the party’s central members. The charges include accusations of Nazism, mass violence and criminality. State funding has been withdrawn and infighting is tearing through the seams of the party hierarchy. So why not pull out the bunting, bake a cake and put on your favourite Giorgos Mazonakis CD? For one thing Golden Dawn still has a significant body of support, despite the initial haemorrhage of voters as a result of the government crackdown, with large numbers of potential voters apparently returning to the party folds in recent weeks. This revitalisation has seemingly been exacerbated by the murder of two Golden Dawn members by militant socialists in November, with recent polls estimating that over 15% of voters still back the far right party. If indeed Golden Dawn remains the third most popular party in Greece, then to dismiss the movement as neutered would be a vast exaggeration.
Infighting is tearing through the party, so why not pull out the bunting and put on your favourite Giorgos Mazonakis CD?
Greece’s dire economic situation has created a general disillusionment with the political establishment. This ideological vacuum has allowed parties from both the hard left and right to gain significant traction. The
conveniently ignoring the dilapidating cuts they were enforcing on the healthcare system. Similarly, the current Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, in a well-publicised speech during the same year, called for Greeks to “liberate our cities from illegal migrants”. In his argument Samaras borrowed from a much criticised figure, often wielded by the populist right, in claiming that there were over two million illegal immigrants in Greece. This rhetoric translated into draconian political manoeuvres like ‘Hospital Zeus’, a race-based stop and search police operation, in order to tackle illegal immigration.
It would be a mistake to view Golden Dawn’s vitriol against immigrants, homosexuality and the far left as a sudden injection into political discourse. Elements within New Democracy and PA.SO.K have long constructed similar arguments to the rhetoric harnessed by Golden Dawn. The PA.SO.K Minister for Health and Social Solidarity, Andreas Loverdos, and the Minister for Citizen Protection, Michalis Chrysochoidis, held a joint press conference in April 2012 in which they blamed the collapse of the Greek health system on the free treatment of immigrant groups;
graph Alex Johnston
It is important to remember that the conditions which facilitated the rise of Golden Dawn still exist. Even if we were to accept the view that Golden Dawn is staggering towards an inevitable collapse, as many commentators claimed in the wake of Michaloliakos’ arrest, the socio-economic situation underpinning Golden Dawn’s support persists to worrying ends.
erosion of support for the centrist Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PA.SO.K), previously the largest party in the Greek parliament, is particularly telling. After the enforcement of austerity measures, PA.SO.K’s share of the vote fell from 44% in the 2009 elections to 13% in 2012. Indeed, whilst the centre right party, New Democracy, replaced PA.SO.K as the largest political entity in the Hellenic Parliament in the 2012 elections, their share of the vote was actually lower than during their ‘catastrophic’ defeat of 2009. The parties which then absorbed much of this disaffected voter base were the ‘Coalition of the Radical Left - Unitary Social Front’ (SYRIZA) and the aforementioned Golden Dawn.
Particularly within New Democracy there is an extreme right contingent which is increasingly gaining influence, possibly in an attempt to channel Golden Dawn’s support. One prominent figure is Adonis Georgiadis, previously of the now largely defunct ‘Popular Orthodox Rally’ who has criticised the state for funding homosexuality, not preparing for the coming violent uprising of the Islamic community and allowing “illegal immigrants” to “slaughter, rape and plunder Greeks”. Georgiadis is now the Minister for Health. In a similar vein, one of the Minister of Interior’s key advisors for immigration was the historian Ioannis Kotoulas. Kotoulas infamously wrote a revisionist work on the Third Reich, in which he referred to Nazism as a “great revolution”, a work that
has been publicly denounced by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece. This far right rhetoric by the largest political body in the Hellenic parliament has merely legitimised and prepared the way for Golden Dawn’s claims. The state may have recently cracked down on Golden Dawn but they also propagated the party’s views and aided its early development. Only a few weeks ago key members of New Democracy were discussing a collaboration with Golden Dawn, highlighting the often surprisingly cosy relationship between the far right and the political establishment. The Minister of Public Order, Nikoloas Dendias, in responding to claims by fifteen anti-fascist protestors that they were tortured by police officers, entirely denied that the attacks ever took place, despite a hugely damning medical forensics report. A similar tone was employed by Christos Lazaridis, a popular figure on the right of New Democracy, when, in the wake of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas’ murder, he dismissed the killing as merely a result of “two extremes”. Until the socio-economic situation which spawned Golden Dawn is ameliorated, or the views that Golden Dawn profess are less widely propagated by the political establishment, fascism will continue to besmirch the Greek political process. THE WARWICK GLOBALIST
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY image flickr nengard
Alun CLEDWYN The failure to pass the “Monsanto Protection Act” concluded a controversial year in the battle between large biotechnological companies such as Monsanto, and the increasingly popular “food movement” in the US. The bill was written in collusion with Monsanto, aiming to remove legal responsibilities of health implications caused by its genetically engineered seeds. Hidden backroom deals and an apparent unawareness by many members of Congress, created a murky affair that illustrates the ability of agrichemical corporations to manipulate congress. Food security is becoming increasingly integrated with international affairs, highlighted by the rise in food prices
that triggered the Arab Uprisings. The successes of intensive farming techniques pioneered in the 60’s green revolution are looking increasingly archaic and unable to accommodate population extrapolations. These oil dependant techniques have ravaged ground water supplies and are increasingly lambasted as unsustainable. With predictions of a new agricultural zone the size of Brazil necessary to feed the population rise, for many it is obvious that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are the future of food. Beneficial attributes of GMOs include drought resistance, pest resistance and increased yield amongst others. Additionally, it would be naïve to suggest that the scientific
From Controlling Genes, To Controlling Markets Are We Right To Fear GMO’s?
concept behind these plants is inevitably detrimental to health. Experiments suggesting genetically modified food can induce carcinogenic growth are far from unassailable; over 2000 investigations have failed to conclude these crops are harmful. However, Monsanto has been heavily accused of rushing safety tests and cherry-picking data, and with rises in gastrointestinal problems in GMO consuming nations these claims may yet be validated. Since its creation in 1901, Monsanto has been linked to various chemical and environmental disasters such as the creation of the highly toxic PCB’s and the destructive carcinogen Agent Orange. Following on from the 1990’s, Monsanto have been able to monopolise the international seed market and patents of genetically engineered crops perhaps since many Congress members are former employees and vice versa.
These clear vested interests have helped to prevent the proposed labelling of GM food in the US and built a legal definition of GMOs as “equal” to regular crops despite no clear biological evidence. Through the patenting of GM crops Monsanto has been able to legally persecute farmers over saving seeds and seed theft by unintentional cross pollination, both nationally and globally. This relentless monopolisation raises questions of the ethical suitability of this company controlling a market whose importance is highlighted by the activist slogan “Control the seeds, and you control the people”. With $250 million spent over the last five years on a heavy handed publicity campaign, this may be a company that has invested too much to lose. The promise of GMOs to “help eradicate poverty” is debatable, their ability to improve yields is dubious given
reductions in biodiversity are detrimental to soil quality and thus yield. The induction of terminator genes into GMOs may also be a potential cause of ecological destruction with the removal of a second seed generation. Shockingly, rural India is experiencing a “GMO genocide” due to the failure of carelessly incorporated GM crops and a related high suicide rates. Sustainable farming is an alternative system supported by ISTAT with a 79% better yield exhibited in over 12 million farms. However, with a powerful marketing policy and President Obama signing the controversial “Monsanto Protection Act” before its later removal, is a global food dependency on a few corporations a serious possibility? GMOs may still have a role to solve in world food problems, yet these current policies seem to further exasperate the current global food inequalities.
images flickr Dru (left) flickr DFAT photo library (right)
Following landmark legislative conflict in the USA Alun Cledwyn investigates the science of GMOs and the politics of the corporations that control them.
Open Source Society:
Tracking the development of Free and Open Source from inception to present day James Baross speculates on the potential influence of the moment’s ideas. Jamie BAROSS As I write this, thousands of videogamers are scrabbling to grab the newly released SteamOS(beta) - a linux based games platform. This is merely the latest of an incredible surge into the main stream by the Free and Open Source movement. These ideas originated in software development during the 1980's in response to the commodification and enclosure of software, previously treated as a shared academic good. Advocates proclaim the importance of an end user’s freedom to share, understand and modify their tools in contrast to the propriety systems that insist on central control.
Propriety systems leave users vulnerable to flaws in the things they supposedly own, and unable to examine or modify them this is left to the centralised vendors. Companies can leverage this monopoly to charge excessively for minor maintenance or cover up embarrassing vulnerabilities that would have been found and fixed if open for all to scrutinise. Fundamentally though, with every purchase of propriety goods you are handing more of your freedoms to unaccountable third parties, who regularly invade your privacy for advertising or hand 'backdoors' to governmental intelligence agencies. Once the domain of dedicated technophiles, the name Linux is increasingly becoming a household name. This is largely thanks to the ubuntu project, which proclaimed itself "Linux for human beings" and began the post-millennium push in user friendliness. Additionally the (linux based) android has dominated smart phone market where the concepts of rooting and jailbreaking have brought the philosophy of Free and Open Source into the mainstream. Importantly the movement is also expanding beyond software and into the physical. The vast majority of 3-D printable objects are shared under a similar philosophy and a push for small electronics (similar to the popular raspberry pi) adopting open source - or in this case open blueprints - is under-way. Increasingly more of our day to day experiences can and do take place in an open source world. Despite the increasing presence of free and open technologies in our lives this hasn’t always meant a spread of the corresponding philosophy. While rooted androids have given us a taste of the freedom we could have, cloud services have shown the flip-side. People are often willing to give up their freedoms for the sake of connivance - exporting control to Google doesn’t seem so bad when they seem to provide the service you wanted anyway. Although we might need to reflect on the old warning - 'If You're Not Paying, You're The Product'. Ultimately it remains to be seen how far Free and Open Source ideas will really impact our lives and in what way but the future looks set for a battle of ideologies and that can be nothing if not interesting. THE WARWICK GLOBALIST
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Harindi Waduge gives a damning account of the damage US patent policy has had on millions in the developing world.
Drug Patenting: The Crime of the Century Harindi LOKU WADUGE Although the development of antiretroviral drugs did not make HIV/AIDs curable, they made it treatable. These drugs meant that affected people could have a normal life. However, this was only the case for people who could afford the costly “triple cocktail” medication. These essential medications were out of reach of millions of people suffering from AIDs in the developing world. This is because the branded drugs were too expensive and the TRIPS agreement meant that small companies were not allowed to make generic drugs. Doctors in these parts of the world, namely Africa, were forced to “play God” in deciding who should receive drugs from their limited stockpile. The fact is that the drugs were not where they were needed. A new documentary, Fire in the Blood, examines the atrocity of this. Millions of lives could have been saved with the help of these generic drugs. A generic copy of a drug is a bioequivalent of a branded drug. Generics tend to have the same safety, dosage and more importantly the same efficacy and quality as the original drug. The remarkable difference is the price, whereby generics are considerably cheaper. For example, the original antiretroviral drugs cost up to $15,000 per annum per patient. However, the generic developed by Cipla only costs $350 per annum (less than a dollar a day).
How is this possible? Well, the expenditure of generic drug companies is considerably reduced as they have no costs from drug discovery or lengthy safety and efficacy trials. This is because generic manufacturers make their drugs via reverse engineering. However, generic copying reduces the profits of PhRMA who argue that they will not have the investment for further research. Whilst this is true, it has to also be taken into consideration that 84% of the research carried out for drug discovery is funded by the government or public funding. The stubbornness of the United States, under pressure from companies such as Pfizer and Glaxo Smith Kline, in defending patents for antiretroviral drugs caused what some consider genocide – some 10 million people died unnecessarily. Ten million people died because we stopped thinking like humans for a moment. Since then, the trade related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS) agreement, has been amended to allow the export of generic drugs. Now countries that cannot manufacture their own generic drugs can import them from elsewhere. This unfortunately is one example of many. It highlights too clearly that the current system where medicinal monopolies exist is immoral and unsustainable. An alternative system that prohibits monopolies has worked in Canada for the last 70 years. The patent holders receive a share of the profits on the sales of the generic equivalent, this continues to give incentive for the discovery of new drugs and further research whilst not putting people at risk. In reality, PhRMA cannot create monopolies for medication if we don’t allow it. So the question is are we going to keep turning a blind eye to this atrocity?
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Issue 3, Volume 1 The Warwick Globalist