Troglodytes and Petty Bourgeois

I’m very glad I bought this Socialist magazine, people, because it’s very funny. It says, for instance, that the GOP is “beholden to the petty bourgeois Tea Party and troglodyte sections of big capital.” Say what you will, but it’s hilarious that some people still managed to retain this verbiage as late as 2014.

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Socialists Don’t Understand Wages

Strangely, the Socialist magazine I bought is proving way too conservative for me. To give an example, a review of a book on the globalized economy states that the global economic crisis of the 1970s happened, to a large degree, because the wages were too high.

I’m reading a lot about the economy of the 1970s for my new research project, and I can tell you that it’s a load of stinky, stale baloney. The wages were not “too high.” What happened is that, to counteract the diminishing growth in the productivity of capital in the 1970s, wages were declared an expense and nothing but an expense. Wages started to be seen as part of those pesky production costs everybody wants to minimize.

And if your question is, “But what else can wages be if not an expense?” this just goes to show how profoundly this way of thinking has been interiorized. s

Birthday Celebrations

So I dressed up in my new very frilly, very red blouse, did my hair, painted my nails with the nail polish I received as a Birthday gift from the best friend in the world, and set out to wander around stores, buying gifts for myself.

Among the gifts I bought is this curiously named “Bible study pen” and the International Socialist Review. These gifts seem counterintuitive given how I feel about both Bible study and socialism but I love multi-ink pens to the point of obsession and I always buy the Socialist magazine because I believe that variety of opinion is crucial and needs to be supported, especially when the dissenting voices are in such an obvious minority.

Now I will underline the Socialist articles with my Bible pen. That will be very groovy. Or is it zany?

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Table

It’s 82 inches with leaf, 70 without. Chairs included in the price.

Don’t mind me, folks, it’s my way of taking notes.

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Geneva Agreement

Starting yesterday, Russian soldiers and members of Russian special forces present in the territory of Ukraine stopped concealing their identities and are now stating directly to anybody who cares to ask that they belong to the Russian military. Putin also admitted publicly for the first time that his troops were in the Crimea before the referendum and were crucial in making the referendum happen. A couple of weeks ago, he vehemently denied this but yesterday dropped the pretense.

So why the sudden change?

The reason why Russian troops no longer consider it necessary to hide who they are is that their presence in Ukraine has been accepted and approved by the United States.

The reason why Putin no longer considers it necessary to lie about invading the Crimea before the referendum is that his actions in Ukraine have been accepted and approved by the United States.

Yesterday, Ukraine was forced to sign the Geneva agreement according to which Ukrainians will disarm and cease all efforts to defend themselves in their own territory. Russia promises nothing and is guaranteed by this agreement the right to mess in the affairs of Ukraine as it sees fit. The agreement forces Ukraine to initiate a process of rearranging its territory in a way that will lead to an easier annexation of the Southeast of Ukraine by Russia. Russia undertakes to supervise this process lest it doesn’t facilitate further invasion as well as it should.

This agreement is nothing but a way for the US to save face. Of course, many Ukrainians will not disarm. They have been beaten, attacked, persecuted and assaulted by Russian troops in the streets of their own cities. If you were invaded by a foreign army, would you give up your gun (baseball bat, hunting rifle, knife, etc.) as a gesture of good will towards the invaders without getting anything in return? Obviously not.

And after Ukrainians refuse to relinquish their weapons, Russians will exclaim triumphantly, “Look, they broke the agreements! Our presence is sorely needed!” and the US will say, “Yes, Ukrainians broke the agreements, we can’t be expected to defend people who can’t even respect diplomacy.”

I know I only have very intelligent readers who won’t ask, “But why then did Ukrainians sign these agreements if they are so disadvantageous to them?” The idea of Ukraine fighting a war against Russia and NATO at the same time is understandably not very appealing to Ukraine. And if somebody experiences the need to ask why Ukrainians agreed to this, maybe that person could start by asking the Poles why they “agreed” to be part of the Soviet bloc or why Germans “agreed” for Berlin to be partitioned.

American foreign policy has led to a series of humiliating defeats in the recent stand-off with Russia. Yesterday, the US agreed to hand over Ukraine for Russia to colonize, rob and torture, as long as President Putin, in his infinite kindness and magnanimity, will allow Americans to pretend that they still have some influence in the region.

Modernity

The entrance into modernity is a painful and traumatic business for everybody. Two world wars and endless local conflicts have been fought over it. Russia is going into a tailspin right now because a neighbor who is entering into modernity faster than Russia is prepared to do freaks the whole country out. And before you condemn the stupid, terrified Russians, tell me where your country was in 1914 and 1939. I’m guessing it was either in the exact same place or about to get there.

The US was always much better at modernity than everybody else. Anti-colonial struggle, Constitution, separation of church and state, participatory democracy, individualism, capitalism, industrialization, women’s rights, workers’ rights, sexual revolution, mass culture, technology, education, science – it was always ahead, always rushing head on into modernity, the very modernity that everybody else feared so much. The US fought its big anti-modernity vs pro-modernity war back in the 1860s and, as a result, wasn’t that interested, that emotionally involved and passionately invested in the two world wars. Why worry and fret if the decision to become modern was made long before others started to awaken to the inescapable push of modernity?

And then something happened. It was as if by the end of the XXth century the country had reached the limit of its capacity to tolerate modernity and got scared of its own comfort with it. Great efforts started to be made to roll back all of the great advances achieved since the XVIIIth century. Modernity’s greatest project – and its greatest success – seems to be giving up on it.

Of course, it’s all useless. Time can’t be turned backwards, and just like every effort the world has seen of stopping modernity’s triumph, this one will fail, too. It’s up to us whether the price we pay for this resistance is as high as what others paid for it.

Pain

Nurse: I will need to remove your IV.

Me: I already removed it.

Nurse: What do you mean?

Me: I took it out. Off. Removed it.

Nurse: I don’t understand.

Me: Here it is. See? I removed it.

Nurse: Are you on something?

Me: You asked me 4 times already. No, I’m not on any medication.

Nurse: But how did you manage to take out the IV then?

Me (tired, hungry, and getting impatient): I’m sorry, I don’t see the connection.

Nurse: This must have been so painful!!!

This tells me that every time I was doing the “rate your pain on the scale of 1 to 10″ thing I was not making myself understood.

Russians Against Art

A performance of an aria from the opera “Ruslan and Lyudmila” was cancelled in Moscow because it contains the lines, “Dnieper is wide and Kiev is far away.”

As one Russian commenter joked, now it makes sense to outlaw the famous Winnie the Pooh cartoon because the rabbit in the cartoon looks very much like Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, and the whole scene where Winnie the Pooh (who obviously symbolizes Russia’s Prime Minister Medvedev because of Medvedev’s last name) visits the rabbit and eats all his food is very unpatriotic towards Russia.

Anti-Semitism in Donetsk

So the Russian bandits in Ukraine finally realized that they will not manage to recruit Ukraine’s Jews to their side. Now the have dropped the pretense of wanting to “defend” Jews from Ukrainian nationalists and started showing their true anti-Semitic colors.

As the Jews in Donetsk were leaving the synagogue, they were given leaflets, telling them that all Jews needed to register and list all their property. The explanation given was that this was the result of the Jews supporting the Ukrainian nationalists.