In his 2002 book, Globalization and Its Discontents, Joseph Stiglitz goes over how he believes Russia’s transition from “communism” to a “market economy” failed after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite his mistake in stating that Russia was somehow “Marxist” in nature beforehand, it does explain how, with US assistance, the country continued to freefall to levels below what they were under the Soviet regime. The minute point I want to dissect from this, however, is his faith in then President of the United States, Bill Clinton, to have taken stronger action if he “had been confronted with the arguments”.
I always enjoy it when people turn to George Orwell’s 1984 in a debate. It must just be the interviews and videos I stumble across, but in a fair number of them they do so from a position of ignorance about Orwell himself and/or in a way to smear their opposition despite them being the founts of questionable information. Words have always been louder than actions in “democracies”.
Admittedly, I thought I had read more books than the ones on this list, but alas it is much smaller than anticipated when I compiled it. I wasn’t expecting anything huge, and 16 books is still a reasonable feat, in my view, but I can’t help but feel a tinge of disappointment that I didn’t get through more. I would, however, suggest that finishing university and keeping up with news events and analysis probably makes up for that. Nevertheless, these are the books I read this past year, with a few thoughts looking back on them and links to piece that refer to them.
I will admit that I have very little knowledge about the situation in Bolivia, other than the fact that a right-wing military, OAS, and US backed coup has toppled the country’s left-leaning and first Indigenous leader after controversy relating to the recent elections escalated. With a little context, however, it may be a good topic to discuss the role term limits have in politics.
The answer to that question appears to be just the media and a bunch of Americans tutting over financial records that Trump won’t release. Also, something about Russia destroying their shit democracy and a rich white guy’s own financial and political interests are under threat, so that word impeach actually means something now. But who actually cares?
I recently joined a student led and run Facebook group for my university (it’s mostly a “shitposting” forum with some decent posts and gems hidden inside). This coincided with the climate strike last Friday, and so there was a lot of buzz about the protest in the city. While I am all for free speech and even enjoy a worthy shitpost (including those against the strikes), it was the occasional disinformation and vitriol that caught my eye.
I usually listen to music when taking the bus to various places, and recently I have started – for no real reason – picking out lyrics from songs that, out of context, could be associated with climate change. The one that seems most relevant this week?
“Welcome to the world, now let’s watch it burn.” – Gotta Let Go, Hollywood Undead.
We’ve all seen the apocalyptic images of Sao Paulo’s ashen skies and the extent to which record breaking fires have damaged the lungs of our earth – set ablaze, quite likely, by those empowered by the evil government of Jair Bolsonaro. This is indeed one of the greatest threats to human survival, with the Amazon giving approximately 20% of the world’s oxygen, but there is a side to this that many appear to be setting aside – again.
The Amazon burns. The Arctic burns. The icebergs melt. The oceans grow hotter. Species die off. Trump. Bolsonaro. Johnson. Morrison. Ecoterrorism is used to describe acts of violence carried out in support of environmentalist causes, but the real terror comes from above. The real terrorists are those who willingly destroy our world.